CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Online Extras: News to Note

October 27, 2012

As airlines raise fees instead of fares, taxpayers pick up tab

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WASHINGTON —

"Last year, our profit amounted to about 77 cents per passenger," said Jean Medina, spokeswoman for Airlines for America, the leading industry trade group. "It's a razor-thin profit margin, so any additional taxes on that is certainly not helpful to the industry and certainly not helpful to the consumer."

The first dozen years of this century have been a virtual nightmare for the airlines. First came the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that grounded flights for a while and left the public skittish about flying for even longer. Then the cost of fuel nearly doubled by 2008, increasing the share of operating revenue that it gobbled up from 10 percent in 2001 to 35 percent in 2011.

Next, the deepest recession since air travel became central to American life made matters even worse.

More than 50 passenger and cargo airlines went bankrupt, the legacy carriers began to merge in order to withstand competition from low-cost airlines, and every airline became so efficient at managing its fleet that planes with empty seats became the exception rather than the rule.

As baggage and other fees mounted, the Department of Transportation (DOT) stepped in to make sure that passengers weren't being beguiled by advertised low fares that didn't reflect the true cost of a trip. It directed airlines and ticket agents to disclose baggage fees upfront in online advertising and during the reservation process.

While still too bruised to wax optimistic, the industry seemed to be regaining its footing in the second quarter of this year. Federal data released last month showed that all the major airlines made a profit in the quarter, after mixed results for several quarters.

Together, the airlines posted $2.3 billion in operating profit. But that does not take into account taxes, interest payments and investments outside the core business. Net profit, which does account for those other outlays, was a less imposing $647 million, Medina noted.

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New England News
Obituaries
  • Alan J. Walker, 68

    Kingston, N.H. — Mr. Alan James Walker, 68, passed away peacefully at his home on July 8, 2014, after a long, brave battle with cancer.

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    1 day
  • James Reese

    Raymond, NH — James Edwin Reese, 74, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Raymond, N.H. He was the son of John and Ruth Reese, born on Oct. 29, 1939 in Edensburg, Pa. James graduated from Central Cambria High School in Pennsylvania before proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a food inspector. His military service was followed by 31 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a meat inspector. Mr. Reese was an avid outdoorsman and spent much of his time fishing, camping and hiking in the White Mountains. He became involved in the Boy Scouts and enjoyed passing on his vast knowledge of the wilderness to others. Throughout his retirement years he enjoyed woodworking, raising rabbits and working in his garden.

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  • Velma J. Reid

    South Hampton, NH — Velma J. Reid, 80, died peacefully on July 17, 2014 at Exeter Hospital, surrounded by family. She was born in Haverhill, Mass. on June 8, 1934, the daughter of the late George C.W. and Alta I. (Kimball) Haynes. A graduate of Haverhill High School, Velma worked at Western Electric until she had children. For years, she was a devoted “stay-at-home” mom who raised her three children in a loving, nurturing environment. She later worked various manufacturing jobs until her retirement. After retiring, she volunteered her time at various organizations and was very involved at the East Kingston Community United Methodist Church as a member of the women’s guild, assisting with the holiday fair, and helping out wherever she could. She had a passion for animals, and would donate money, food, and blankets to the NH SPCA. She loved to sew and made a personalized quilt for every member of her family. She was also a member of the “Ugly Quilts” group, which made blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless using recycled fabric. She is survived by her husband, Clyde Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; daughter, Pam Eaton of Danville, N.H.; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Kim Reid of Raymond, N.H.; daughter, Shirley Reid of South Hampton, N.H.; two sisters, Gwen Stuart of Haverhill, and Norma Taplin of Dracut; four grandchildren, Cheryl and Marc Welch, and Kristen and Joshua Reid, and several nieces and nephews.

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  • Carleen A. Knowlton, 80

    Danville, NH — Carleen A. (Rhoadhouse) Knowlton, 80, of Danville and formerly of Hampstead, died on July 7, 2014, at her home.

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  • Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84

    Kingston, NH — Miriam O. (Graham) Graham, 84, a resident of Kingston since 2001, and former longtime resident of Grafton, Mass., died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on July 11, 2014, following a long illness.

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