WASHINGTON — Pledging to put aside parochial bickering, a broad consortium of airlines, unions, consumer groups and industry representatives Tuesday sounded an alarm over the growing pressure on the nation's air travel system and announced a joint effort aimed at easing the problem.
The group, calling itself Partnership for Improved Air Travel, launched a public awareness campaign whose goal is the dramatic modernization and expansion of U.S. commercial aviation facilities.
Among other things, the 22-member group called on the federal government to hire more air traffic controllers and urged improvement of existing airports and construction of new ones. It noted that the last major airport to be built in this country was the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport in 1974.
The group also voiced complaints that the federal government has not used $6 billion in user taxes to improve airports. The money, which comes from an 8% tax on airline passengers, has been going into the general fund to reduce the deficit, the group charged.