Durbin: Senate Approves Durbin Amendment to Study Partnerships Between Air and Rail Travel

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – The U.S. Senate today approved an amendment authored by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study ways to increase coordination between air and passenger rail travel. Durbin’s amendment was approved as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act.  The amendment specifically identifies codeshare agreements as one way that airlines and passenger rail providers can better coordinate travel.
“Today, code sharing is very common among airlines looking to sell travel to cities that it may not otherwise serve,” said Durbin.  “Expanding this service to include passenger rail providers would increase the options available to take travelers to their destinations.  These types of connections between air and rail service would also bring smaller towns and cities closer to major hub airports where they can travel to almost any destination in the world.”

A codeshare agreement between two airlines allows customers access to both airline networks which directly benefits the consumer through a streamlined ticket purchasing process, combined frequent flyer programs and increased destinations and flight choices.

“With $8 billion announced earlier this year for high speed rail nationwide – $1.2 billion for Illinois – this is the right time to explore the best way to integrate air travel and passenger rail service,” said Durbin.
Currently, there is only one codeshare agreement between an airline and a passenger rail provider.  Amtrak has service directly to Newark Airport, a key hub of Continental Airlines.  The arrangement between Amtrak and Continental provides air travelers with connecting rail service on Regional and Keystone trains to Philadelphia, Wilmington, Stamford and New Haven.  Conversely, Amtrak travelers on these trains can travel Amtrak directly to Newark Airport and then travel anywhere Continental Airlines flies.