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Hawaiian boss raps increase in fines


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POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

U.S. airlines, trying to overcome 11 consecutive months of revenue declines, have to cope with an increase in federal fines under the Obama administration, Hawaiian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Mark Dunkerley said.

The federal government, which enforces regulations on safety, advertising and customer service, previously reduced proposed fines after carriers took remedial action, Dunkerley said yesterday. “;We're just seeing less of that now,”; he said in an interview at Bloomberg's New York headquarters.

U.S. carriers have been trying to hold down the government charges they pay as fewer passengers are traveling in the recession. Industry passenger revenue fell 19 percent in September, the 11th consecutive monthly decline, the Air Transport Association, the Washington trade group for major carriers, said earlier this month.

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The U.S. Transportation Department said in August that Hawaiian was fined $50,000 for failing to disclose that a flight for which it was selling tickets was operated by another carrier. That fine might sound “;pretty small”; against the company's $1.2 billion in annual revenue, Dunkerley said.

“;But it's $50,000 on one telephone call,”; Dunkerley said. “;We don't sell any tickets for $50,000. The fines really do make a big impact.”;