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Delta spent $819,566 lobbying government in 1Q

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Written by editor

Delta Air Lines Inc., the world’s biggest airline operator, spent $819,566 in the first quarter to lobby on airline passenger issues and international alliances between carriers, according to a recent

Delta Air Lines Inc., the world’s biggest airline operator, spent $819,566 in the first quarter to lobby on airline passenger issues and international alliances between carriers, according to a recent disclosure form.

The Atlanta-based carrier, whose spending total included subsidiary Northwest Airlines, also lobbied on a bill that would require certain foreign air carriers to disclose the nature and source of delays and cancellations experienced by air travelers.

Delta acquired Northwest in October. For the fourth quarter of 2008, Delta spent $610,000 to lobby the government, while Northwest spent more than $1.4 million.

Several U.S. carriers are part of, or are pursuing, alliances with foreign carriers.

The Transportation Department last month said it planned to let Continental Airlines join an alliance of other carriers, including United, that enjoy antitrust immunity in working together on pricing and schedules for some flights. Continental announced last year that it planned to join the Star Alliance and leave the SkyTeam group that includes Delta and Northwest.

Members of a third major alliance, including American Airlines and British Airways, are awaiting word on their own application for antitrust immunity. Those carriers have complained they are at a disadvantage to Star and SkyTeam members that already have antitrust immunity, which lets each group function as one big airline on international routes.

Sametta Barnett, formerly of the Homeland Security Department, was among those registered to lobby for Delta in the first quarter, according to the disclosure form filed April 20 with the House clerk’s office.

Besides Congress, Delta lobbied the Federal Aviation Administration and the departments of Transportation, State and Homeland Security.