DOT rules & Airline revunes up

Business travel at the Delta kiosk in the Atlanta Airport

State Department Issues Summer Long Foreign Travel Alert
The State Department’s worldwide travel alert issued after U.S. Special Forces units killed Osama bin Laden advises Americans to exercise caution if they´re in areas more prone to anti-American violence.

It suggests that travelers overseas enroll in the State Department´s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for travel updates, information and security issues.

It´s important to note that support for Osama bin Laden in the Arab world has fallen sharply, according to two highly respected sources, the ABC News Polling Unit and the Pew Research Center, (Source, State Department press release, ABCNews.com)

Issues New DOT Rules Give Passengers a Break
New Department of Transportation rules have brought sweeping changes to the way airlines deal with you. Airlines now must disclose hidden fees, pay back your baggage fee if they lose your bags and pay you more for bumping you—as much as doubling the amount in some instances.

Airlines now must let you cancel reservations at no charge within 24 hours of making that reservation as long as it is at least seven days before departure.

The new rule also expands the ban on lengthy tarmac delays. What it doesn´t do, however, is to require airlines to display full fee information on any platform selling airline fees. Right now, it only requires airlines to provide all fee information on their own websites, but not to travel agencies (online or brick and mortar) or travel management companies (TMCs).

That makes it tough to do comparison shopping when you’re trying to find the least expensive flight. (Source: DOT press release, Global Business Travel Association press releases).

Airlines Add Employees
For the third month in a row, passenger airline employees increased, by .1%. Three network airlines cut employees--American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and United Airlines, according to the Department of Transportation DOT.

Low-cost carriers Virgin America, Spirit Airlines, Allegiant Air, JetBlue Airways, AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines increased employees. Low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines reported a 3.1 percent decrease in employees. (Source: DOT press release).

Air Revenues Are Up 13%
Although airlines are battling high fuel costs, the Air Transport Association reported that passenger revenue rose 13% in March 2011 compared to the same month in 2010, marking the 15th consecutive month of revenue growth. U.S. domestic revenue grew 12.5%, fueled in large part by an 11.5% yield increase.

Trans-Atlantic revenue grew 7% from a year ago, but represented the smallest increase of the four major regions tracked by ATA, largely due to a softer pricing environment. Trans-Pacific revenue rose by 14% despite a 10 percentage point drop in load factor.

Routes to and within the Pacific region posted the largest yield increase 16% of any region. (Source: ATA press release).

Airlines Increase Capacity to Meet Demand
Planes are flying full, airline revenues are up, so carriers are adding capacity, according to the OAG Frequency Capacity Trend Statistics. Airlines are adding 17.9 million seats, a 6% increase, a percentage point ahead of the 5% monthly capacity increase so far this year.

The Asia Pacific and Middle East are showing the most growth, European routes are next. China is now the second largest domestic market, second only to the United States. (Source: OAG press release).