Airline Deregulation: Consumer Boon or Abdication of Government Duty?

The editorial ``Airline Deregulation - a Bomb?,'' Dec. 31, ignores some important facts about airline fares. Airline deregulation has been enormously beneficial to the consumer. Air travelers have saved some $10 billion annually in air fares, according to the Brookings Institution. Somewhat bewildering is your statement that cutthroat price competition is one of the reasons airlines are losing billions, while later you conclude that ticket prices are soaring.

It is the combined impact of a recession and the skyrocketing rise in fuel prices that are the real reasons the airlines are now experiencing the most difficult times in their history. There is no legitimate reason to blame deregulation for these difficulties.

Robert J. Aaronson Washington

President, Air Transport Assn. of America

The editorial was very good, but did not go to the heart of the problem. Airline regulation is a government obligation. Deregulation is actually the government's abdication of its responsibility, however well-intentioned. When the military was mandated to form a separate Air Force in 1947, the independent Civil Aeronautics Authority should not have been buried under the mud and tanks of ground-minded civil departments.

A bill in the US Senate Aviation Subcommittee is intended to rescue the FAA from interference from the Department of Transportation. It deserves citizens' support.

E.Fredy Warns Hialeah, Fla.

Citizens Committee for Aviation Safety

Human rights omissions Regarding the opinion-page article ``In '91, Full Human Rights Agenda,'' Jan. 2: I am struck by the reluctance of the author to take a closer look at home. With all the talk about civil liberties abuses and increased political repression abroad, we are consistently refusing to face our own government's abuses here in the US. There was no mention of the escalating civil rights violations in the name of the war on drugs, nor was there any mention of the impact of the antidrug legislation which has not only brought about the doubling of our prison population but has also relegated thousands of young first-time offenders to the lives of idleness and despair in an overcrowded, violent, and drug-ridden prison system.

Perhaps it is easier to overlook our own violations because they are so neatly garbed in the clothes of morality and righteous indignation, as are so many of the abuses we have inflicted both at home and abroad.

John Steensland Chillicothe, Ohio

The article mentioned all manner of human rights abuses from many countries. Notably absent, however, was any mention of the human rights violations upon the Palestinians by the Israelis. I do not understand why the author omits these violations. They are of great concern to the whole world. Rita M. Olson Edmonds, Wash.

World must cut population growth The article ``Global Earth-Care Efforts Escalate,'' Jan. 2, fails to mention one major issue - the need to cut back on our ever-growing population.

Much good has come from striving for a cleaner, more energy-efficient world. Unfortunately, too little time and effort have been put into encouraging and educating couples to produce fewer children or, preferably, to adopt.

As population increases, so does the cost of housing, consumption of resources, and pollution. The goal must be a balance between population and natural resources.

Jackie Leonard-Dimmick Atherton, Calif.

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