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Sen. Charles Schumer Wants Probe Of Airfares Amid Lower Fuel Costs

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Sen. Charles Schumer is calling for federal investigations of high airfares, questioning why they're not dropping along with fuel costs.

The New York Democrat said Sunday that with holiday travel approaching, the high cost of flying is painfully apparent to thousands of passengers.

He's calling for the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation to investigate why airfares are so high despite what he described as "record" airline profits and "rapidly declining" fuel costs.

Sen. Charles Schumer Wants Probe Of Airfares Amid Lower Fuel Costs

"Fuel costs make up about half of an airline's total costs," Schumer said during a news conference outside a Midtown travel agency, WCBS 880's Monica Miller reported. "So so with dramatically lower fuel prices and a major rise in profits, it's safe to say that the airlines can afford to pass at least some of these savings onto the consumer."

According to the senator's office, the International Air Transport Association forecasts the airline industry profits will grow from $19.9 billion this year by 26 percent to $25 billion next year.

Meanwhile, oil prices have dropped by 40 percent since June and are about $60 a barrel.

"A lot of the airlines, when prices were going up, added a surcharge," Schumer said. "Well, that fuel surcharge is still on the tickets."

Schumer also wants the feds into whether recent airline mergers and less competition have any role in today's high airfares.

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