Air Transport World

RAA '84 Spring meeting proceedings forecast another problem year. (Regional Airline Association)

Commuter airline executives responding to ATW inquiries rated the Regional Airline Association 1984 Spring meeting in Washington, D.C. as a record breaker.

Michael Di Giorgio, sun Aire's VP, summed it up with, "It was meaty and timely--the best we've had."

Others rated the Dulles International Airport commuter aircraft display impressive and an "excellent barometer for measuring the industry's growth during the past ten years."

RAA reported more than 1,500 people registered during the two-and-a-half-day session held at the Shoreham Hotel. An estimated 350 were officials of U.S. commuter airlines, approximately 450 represented industry suppliers and services management, and the remainder were congressional/government/industry association connected officials.

The Dulles display of more than 20 turboprop and jet transports in the 100-passenger and below classes occupied nearly half a mile of the airport's north/south taxiway. Capitol observers present, upon seeing millions of dollars in hardware parked on the field, rated the event as "the largest display" of commercial aircraft ever shown at Dulles.

The oft heard question of the day was, "How can commuters buy enough planes to keep all of these manufacturers in business?"

John Stratton, of the House Public Works Oversight Committee staff, said the Dulles "show" was expecially valuable to congressional and government officials who are not "aware of the role of commuters in our air transportation systems. Hot topics

"Red hot" topics of the Shoreham business sessions concerned: Airport slot sales or lotteries; operating problems with the FAA air traffic flow control policies; computer reservation systems and two-letter code designators; changing interline environment; and the growing threat of state taxation of airlines; and attempts to allocate and control airspace rights within state borders.

Less controversial but equally important actions had to do with personnel training, with special attention to air crews. Members are seeking ways and means of reducing high flight-check and training costs through the use of on-ground cockpit training aids--flight simulators and non-motion procedural training equipment.

Summary of sessions

Commuter members of RAA do not agree on the use of major airline's two-letter designator codes for commuter carriers in the computer reservation systems.

RAA condones the practice and supports the Civil Aeronautics Board's interim decision to prevent United Airlines from removing multiple airline use of common codes in its Apollo CRS system. The CAB promises recommende rulemaking on this and the broader question of major airline CRS bias this month.

In the meantime a near dozen commuter airlines opposing the practice have petitioned cAB to ban the use of the two letter designator for commuter carriers working under close alliance with major airline CRS hosts. Debate reached a hot point during the Washington RAA meeting and is continuing.

Kingsley Morse, president, Command Airways, told assembled members at the Shoreham Hotel that the use of a common code "is a moral issue." He told the audience, "This practice may offer some near-term advantages, but in the long rung you misrepresent yourself to the public." He promises customer confusion and predicts the practice will open the door to constellations of commuter airlines with allegiance only to a "mother carrier." He warned that independence will be lost and "We will then be used as their (major airlines) hired guns for any shoot-out they have with one another. …

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