November 20, 2007

The Air Up There: Making Sense of Aviation Policy

The air transportation market is increasingly a global one. With continued advancements in transport technologies, the growth of strategic airline alliances, and the emergence of international "Open Skies agreements", the need for an effective and efficient transportation infrastructure becomes imperative. Anything less will only add to the growing list of problems facing the United States airline industry.

The economic deregulation of the late 1970's extended immense benefits on all users, through lower prices and improved services. Yet key segments of the air transportation infrastructure, mainly airports and air navigation services, remain regulated and within public ownership have routinely struggled to meet customer demand. In the thirty years since deregulation, the airline industry as a whole has suffered from negative real returns.

The Department of Transportation, along with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, hosts an interactive forum to explore the economic reasons for many of the travails facing airlines today and analyze the responses thus far. Leading the discussion will be a world-renown expert on transportation policy, Dr. Kenneth Button. Dr. Button has written over 80 books on the topic of transport economics and transport planning. This session featured DOT officials to engage Dr. Button on the economics associated with air transportation.

Panel discussion features

Dr. Kenneth Button Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Transportation Policy, Operations, and Logistics George Mason University

Tyler D. Duvall Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy Department of Transportation

Fred L. Smith, Jr. President & Founder Competitive Enterprise Institute

Mr. Andrew Steinberg Assistant Secretary for Aviation & International Affairs Department of Transportation