DOT To Host Meeting On Airline Fee Revenue Proposal

The U.S. Department of Transportation on May 17 will hold a public meeting to "seek input on costs and benefits associated" with its proposal to collect new information from airlines on ancillary revenues, according to a notice Friday in the Federal Register.

DOT in July 2011 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding data collection on 16 additional ancillary airline categories, including fees for bookings, seat assignments, various inflight services and travel insurance. The proposal also contemplates modifying how carriers report mishandled checked baggage rates.

DOT is holding the meeting "primarily for the purpose of obtaining additional information about current industry practices" and to learn "more about the costs associated with the proposal to report airline ancillary fee revenue," according to the notice.

That means gathering feedback from industry constituents on the "process and logistics of how ancillary revenues are collected and transferred into reporting formats," and understanding the changes airlines would need to undertake to accommodate the proposal.

"The Department assumes that, as a matter of good business practice, airlines already collect the ancillary fee revenue identified in the proposed reporting requirement," according to the DOT notice. "Under this assumption, the costs of compliance with the new reporting requirement are estimated to be the necessary one-time programming costs to adapt existing computer systems (about 40 hours of programming for each carrier to capture the ancillary revenue items), in addition to any recurring annual expenses (e.g. staff time) for developing the additional reports."

DOT said it "will also accept written materials at the public meeting. We will place, in the public docket for this rulemaking, any materials received at the meeting, as well as a summary of the meeting."