Bernie Sanders urges Biden administration to fine airlines $27,500 per passenger for worsening flight delays

Bernie Sanders

sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, will leave the White House last July.Susan Walsh/AP

  • Sanders wants airlines to stick to the agreement or to face heavy fines.

  • He urged heavy financial penalties for airlines with persistent flight delays of more than two hours.

  • Other Democrats worry about a summer travel collapse.

Many travelers in the US are get frustrated with worsening flight delays in recent weeks. That prompts Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to make sure major airlines keep their promises during the busy summer season — or face hefty fines if they strand passengers and employees on the tarmac.

“Taxpayers have saved the airline industry during their time of need,” Sanders said in a letter sent Wednesday to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “It is now the responsibility of the aviation industry and the Department of Transport to ensure that the flying public and crew members can reach their destinations on time and without delay as far as possible.”

Sanders outlined some steps he wants the Biden administration to consider penalizing airlines for cancellations and delays:

  • A fine of $27,500 per passenger for domestic flight delays of more than two hours and international delays of more than three hours

  • Force airlines to “immediately” refund all passengers for flights delayed by more than an hour

  • Impose $55,000 per passenger fine on airlines “if they cancel flights they know cannot be fully staffed”

Other Democrats are demanding fines for the airline industry. John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee in Pennsylvania, made a similar appeal earlier on Tuesday, leading the Obama administration. took a similar action in 2009.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut and Ed Markey from Massachusetts also sent a letter on Wednesday to the 10 largest airlines, including Spirit Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines.

They demanded information about delays and other bottlenecks plaguing the sector, and urged them to reimburse stranded passengers for their tickets in a timely manner.

As part of the initial CARES bill in March 2020, Congress and President Trump about approved A $50 billion bailout for major airlines as the economy stalled and air traffic was halted by the pandemic. It came with a number of obligations, such as banning aircraft from firing employees and buy back shares.

That money was largely intended to keep airline employees at work. But the industry’s workforce shrank due to voluntary buyouts in anticipation of a recovery that would take years. Now they are struggling to keep up with the pent-up demand for travel.

Read the original article Business Insider

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