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NTA Applauds Short-Term Air Traffic Solutions; Hopes Government Will do More to Ease Travel Burden

December 19, 2007

NTA Applauds Short-Term Air Traffic Solutions; Hopes Government Will do More to Ease Travel Burden
Dec. 19, 2007 – The National Tour Association applauds the short-term steps outlined in a plan announced today by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters that aims to reduce airline delays. While these provisional solutions will ease holiday travel, NTA hopes that the government will look to the future by adopting a more efficient air travel control system.


This week, President Bush said he supported a "market-based approach" for managing airline congestion and that the government would clear military air space in the eastern and western United States to ease flight delays during holiday travel.


"This year we have heard more complaints and concerns over air travel than ever before," said NTA Chairman and CEO Bob Hoelscher, CTP. "NTA, along with many travelers, believes that the government must give precedence to travel policy. The short-term strategies laid out are positive first steps in improving the travel experience."


Hoelscher added that as a tour operator he understands the intricacies of packaged travel itineraries and that air travel delays can cause a domino effect that impacts all components of the travel package.


A recent survey of people likely to vote in the presidential election shows that Americans believe the government can do far more to address travel and tourism concerns. Some 70 percent of those surveyed think it is possible to reduce airline wait times and still maintain the same level of security at airports. Some 85 percent of respondents believe it is important (60 percent say very important) to develop and implement a newer air traffic control system.


In the announcement today, Peters urged Congress to act on legislation HR 2881 and S 1300 that would enable the Federal Aviation Administration to move forward with a better air traffic system, stating that, "By eliminating this single delay, Congress can help end aviation gridlock, expand aviation capacity, and keep our skies safe."


"NTA supports steps such as opening more runway lanes to ease congestion, but we would like to know more about the cost involved in implementing DOT’s plan," added Hoelscher. "NTA maintains its position that if fees are going up, the money raised should go back into tourism-related efforts, such as ensuring that steps are taken to make the travel experience smoother."


NTA and its industry partners have contacted the 2008 presidential candidates to make them aware of the survey results and travel-related issues that concern Americans and to share with the candidates what they can do to address them. Among the solutions recommended to improve air service are more regular access to controlled air space, increased technology to improve air traffic control, and additional federal funding for more runways at high demand airports.


The survey of likely voters in Florida and South Carolina was funded by the National Tour Association, Travel Industry Association and Travel Business Roundtable. Each survey was conducted Oct. 24-29 and has a margin of error of plus- or minus-5.66 percent.


The National Tour Association has a global membership of tourism professionals involved in the growth and development of the packaged travel industry. Its membership includes 600 tour operator companies – group, independent, inbound and outbound – and the destinations and suppliers that partner with them. The association is committed to providing business results and information to its members, while offering a collaborative, caring environment in which to build relationships. For more information, please visit

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