The price of fuel is so high, many aviation leaders are worried about the future of their business. Dozens of airport directors met in Washington D.C., in hopes of coming up with a solution. ILM director Jon Rosborough says if the price of fuel continues to rise, 200 small airports could be closed by October. The Winstead family is on its way back home to Alaska after spending a week in Wilmington with grandma and grandpa. Trips like these are becoming fewer and far between. Patrick Winstead said, "Our tickets were about $800 dollars per person and that's gone up since Christmas time obviously with the oil prices. We looked at what they would be if we bought them today and I think they would be $1100 dollars a piece if we bought them right now." Rosborough says the high costs are only the beginning. "Unless something is done this oil could continue to spike and could go up to $200 a barrel in the next couple years, and if it does it will have a tremendous negative impact, it could close the aviation business down entirely," said Rosborough. Rosborough said, "That's what this task force is -- to go to our elected officials and say it is time to put politics aside and to get serious. It is time for us to come up with a good energy policy." The aviation energy task force discussed long term solutions like finding alternative sources for fuel which is something Patrick Winstead says is a good idea. "It would be nice to have some more domestic sources of oil, some new drilling," said Winstead. Some immediate solutions include finding ways to conserve fuel. Airlines also decided to make some cutbacks to help small airports survive. Starting in September, ILM will cut 2 flights a day to Philadelphia and New York, and one flight to Atlanta. Rosborough says these cutbacks should be the only ones necessary, as long as the price of oil stays around $140 a barrel. The task force will meet again in Washington in about two weeks to try and make the proposed energy policy a reality.
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