Another reason flights will be delayed

Dan Grech Apr 10, 2008


Scott Jagow: American Airlines has certainly reduced its carbon footprint this week. One of out every three American flights has been canceled. Another 900 flights off the boards today. And Midwest Airlines grounded a dozen planes this morning. Same kind of jet — the MD80 — to check out the wiring and comply with FAA regulations.

There’s another potential headache for air travel. Soon, the TSA will start screening the cargo on passenger planes. That means your overnight packages could be delayed. Or least they’ll cost more. Dan Grech reports.

Dan Grech: Congress has estimated screening flight cargo for explosives will cost nearly $4 billion over 10 years. But the Feds have no plans to pay for it. David Field is with Airline Business Magazine.

David Field: If these machines have to be bought, someone has to pay for them. And ultimately, it’s going to be the person who ships the package. We will pay for them. Rates will go up.

A similar situation arose after 9-11. The government tried to require airlines and airports to pay for equipment to screen travelers. After intense lobbying, Congress eventually agreed to foot the bill. Fields says the country’s 12,000 freight forwarders may not be so lucky.

Field: This is a side of the industry that does not have the same kind of high public profile, and I don’t know if they’ll be able to make the same kind of argument that being forced to pay this many billions of dollars is unfair.

Cargo screening begins this summer in major airports.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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