Of Ad Buys and Variable Vote Dates


A new cable ad-buy from consumer advocates details the “greatest hits” of the airline industry of late: dragged passengers, crying mothers and the sum total of all those bag fees.

It’s another entry in the debate over whether the nation’s air traffic control system would be better off outside of the government. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) thinks so: His six-year Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill would privatize ATC.

Shuster’s bill calls for ATC to be transferred from the FAA to a corporate board, with seats held by the major airlines, employees unions and general aviation, among others. 

Opponents, however, worry the industry will come to dominate the board.

“In just the past few weeks we’ve witnessed big airlines engaging in troubling hurricane-related price gouging to go along with the ongoing passenger abuses and unsavory marketing and pricing practices that harm consumers,” National Consumers League Vice President John Breyault said in a press release. 

“This industry continues to put profits before passengers,” he added. “Based on their track record, they would likely do the same if handed control of our air traffic system.”

National Consumers League, FlyersRights.org, Consumer Action, the Alliance for Aviation Across America and In The Public Interest bought the ad for cable in D.C. and with digital distribution nationally, timing it to run with what should have been the final push before a vote that was to be scheduled for the week of Oct. 9.

A vote on the bill (H.R. 2997) had seemed imminent after a call Oct. 3 for additional amendments before a possible House Rules Committee hearing the week of Oct. 9. But the bill was no longer being considered for a vote by Oct. 5; the House Majority Leader left the bill off his list of bills under consideration for the following week.

Shuster

Shuster has tried several times already to bring his bill to the floor for a vote, only to have it removed from the schedule each time.

The ad will run just the same, feeding into the ongoing media battle of press releases, op-eds and ads run by advocates and opponents of the ATC proposal.