Congressman defends his commitment to lowering airline fares

(WMC-TV) - Are pricey airfares hurting Memphis International Airport and the Bluff City? One Tennessee Congressman thinks so.

Now he is asking another airline to fly in and offer travelers better prices

U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen spent his 63rd birthday defending his commitment to the airline industry in Memphis.

The incumbent in the race for the 9th district is responding to a social media attack on his record.

The new Facebook page "Delta does Memphis" is a forum for frustrations over high air fares in Memphis.

Congressman Steve Cohen finds it more political than practical.

"I want everybody in Memphis to know that I have been concerned about this issue for a long time," said Cohen.

Cohen's opponents in the race for the district 9 congressional seat are using social media to challenge his commitment to lowering airfare prices in Memphis. Cohen responded with a picture in front of Air Force One and his three year record of discussions with Delta, Southwest airlines and the airport authority,

Cohen says airline de-regulation during the Reagan era prevents congress from protecting consumers from airline abuse.

The only solution according to Cohen is more competition.

"I think the main hope is Southwest. That's why I wear this tie which is an indication that I've been on this subject long before Debbie did Memphis or Delta did Dallas or whatever they're doing these days," said Rep. Cohen.

Southwest coming to Memphis should help, but the airline will not be here until the summer of 2013.

Until then travelers will likely continue to pay some the highest ticket prices in the nation.

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