House and Senate conferees grappled yesterday for the second day in a row without resolution on two major aviation measures -- one involving the emotion-laden issue of airplane noise and the other designed to assure a permanent pro-competition international aviation policy in the future.
Attached to both House bills, and complicating the issues further, is an amendment sponsored by House Majority Leader James Wright (D-Texas) to prohibit interstate airline services from Dallas' Love Field so that all services would emanate from the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Airport, the one closer to Wright's home town of Fort Worth.
Aside from the philosophical problems some Senate Commerce Committee members expressed about the amendment, it also conflicts mightily with the interests of one of its more powerful members, Finance Committee Chairman Russell Long (D-La.). His constituents currently benefit from the low-fare services that Southwest Airlines offers from New Orleans to Love Field, services that would be barred by the amendment. Southwest has said that it would not be able to operate out of D-FW because of the time delays its quick turn-around service would suffer.
Senate Commerce Chairman Howard W. Cannon (D-Nev.) said the Senate conferees would be willing to consider the amendment on the aircraft noise bill -- which is opposed by many of the House conferees -- but not on the international bill that was tackled first. "Then we'll be in a position of putting the majority leader's amendment on a bill many of us will be opposing," House Aviation Committee Chairman Glenn Anderson (D-Calif.) complained.
"We'll consider it, but only on a bill that's related," Cannon replied. "I find it very difficult to see how a bill with a 20-mile limit applies to international aviation."
"Is this a new trend of germaneness?" Anderson asked amid laughter.
The bill on which Cannon is willing to consider the amendment would allow airlines to continue using planes that do not meet stringent new noise standards if they have ordered quiet new planes to replace them.