Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says the bankruptcy announcements of two airlines shows the need for the government to impose more regulation on the industry. He says Delta and Northwest have been shedding costs by reducing their employee’s wages and pensions and he says that’s the wrong way to do it. Harkin, a democrat, says we need to get fuel costs down and a restructuring of the airline system in America. Harkin says he regrets the decision to deregulate the airlines. Harkin says it’s probably one of the worst votes he’s ever cast when 25-years ago he voted to deregulate the airline industry. “I think its brought us nothing but disruption, and higher costs and less service over those years,” Harkin says. Harkin says the whole airline system needs another look. He says, “At some point, I don’t know when, probably not right now. But as some point we’re going to have to address this whole issue of how airlines operate in this United States. And what’s happened in the last 20 year in terms of air travel. It’s gotten out of hand, I mean, you can go on-line to get a plane ticket now. And if you buy a plane ticket five minutes one time or the other, by five minutes, you can pay 100 dollars more or 100 dollars less. What kind of sense does that make?” Harkin says there needs to be more control over the pricing of tickets. He says, “Something’s got to be done to put more standardization, into fares, and into routes, and uh a little bit more regulation in that regard too. Harkin says Southwest airlines is the only major carrier making money right now, and that’s due in part to some smart hedging on their fuel costs.
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