Senators scold airlines for raising fares

JOAN LOWY - Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators are scolding the airline industry for raising fares during the tax holiday created by the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia chairs the Senate committee that oversees FAA's budget, and Maria Cantwell of Washington chairs the aviation subcommittee. They are asking key industry officials to either put their profits into an account to be used to support federal aviation programs or roll back the fare increases.

In a letter sent Tuesday, the senators say that the unauthorized collection of federal ticket taxes could have "long-term negative repercussions for the industry."

The FAA's operating authority — including the authority it gives airlines to collect ticket taxes — expired Saturday, forcing a partial shutdown of the agency.

Industry officials weren't immediately available for comment.