(Adds JPMorgan comments from research note)
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, March 3 The Trump administration
said on Friday it is suspending action on an Obama
administration decision in October to probe a long-time practice
by some airlines of preventing various travel websites from
showing their fares and whether to require transparency in
airline baggage and other fees.
The U.S. Transportation Department said in a notice Friday
it is suspending a public comment period on the review of the
practices to "allow the president’s appointees the opportunity
to review and consider this action."
Airlines generated $3.8 billion in baggage fees in 2015 and
the Obama administration said in October it was formally
exploring requiring airlines and ticket agents to provide
consumers with prices that include service fees for baggage and
other services alongside fares at points of sale.
Separately, the Trump administration is also extending the
compliance date for a new regulation requiring reporting of data
for mishandled baggage and wheelchairs in aircraft cargo
compartments for one year - until Jan. 1, 2019.
Airlines for America, the industry trade group representing
American Airlines Group Inc, United Continental Holdings
Inc, Southwest Airlines Co and others, praised
"Today’s action is a common sense measure reinforcing that
the airline industry is capable of making the decisions that
best serve our customers, our employees and the
communities we serve," the airlines' group chief executive
Nicholas Calio said in a statement.
The group added the "airline industry operates under 13,000
regulations across 13 agencies, many of which are outdated,
obsolete and in need of reform."
President Donald Trump met with airline chief executives
last month and asked them to identify regulatory hurdles
preventing job growth in the industry.
A study commissioned by a travel agencies' trade group, the
Travel Technology Association, in 2014 found that restricting
the ability to comparison-shop would result in ticket prices
increasing more than 11 percent.
Airline shares rose on the news.
JPMorgan said in a research note Friday that the "the
protections never mattered in the first place - the financial
impact of the Obama protections was largely irrelevant, in our
The Obama administration efforts were very modest, JPMorgan
said, and did not propose limiting airlines’ ability to pursue
ancillary revenue, such as an outright ban on bag fees.
But JPMorgan added: "U.S. airlines appear to increasingly
have the ear of a sympathetic, regulatory-averse
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bernard Orr)