Legislation Needed To Clarify Future of Consumer Protection and Federal Preemption After the CAB Sunsets

RCED-84-154: Published: Jun 13, 1984. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed issues relevant to the termination of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), focusing on: (1) the future of the CAB consumer protection function; (2) the future of federal preemption in airline regulation; (3) plans for transferring CAB functions after its termination; and (4) the necessity for legislation to ensure an orderly transition of CAB functions.

GAO found that the legislation that provided for the termination of CAB did not address the future of CAB consumer protection functions. While legislation has been proposed to resolve the uncertainty, none has passed. GAO believes that, without legislation, consumer protection for airline consumers is likely to decline. GAO also found that the future of federal preemption in airline regulation is uncertain. In addition, GAO found that the Federal Trade Commission and the Departments of Transportation and Justice have not completed plans for the transfer of CAB functions and regulations. GAO believes that these problems make legislation necessary to clarify the disposition of CAB functions and regulations and the scope of federal preemption.

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