GOP befriends airline passengers _ up to a point

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican leaders are lauding an aviation policy bill before the Senate as the friendliest measure for airline passengers in years, but there are limits to friendship.

Republicans are balancing between passengers angered at their treatment by airlines and party principles that avoid imposing more regulations on a major industry — especially in an election year that's been defined by populist rage.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is defending the GOP position that's favored some consumer reforms in the bill, while opposing proposals by Democrats to put more teeth into those provisions. McConnell says deregulation of the airline industry has made air travel more accessible and affordable.

The consumer provisions have been included in the bill at the behest of Democrats.