Fall is flying by and the holidays will be here before we know it. This year’s Thanksgiving air travel period will be one of the busiest we’ve ever seen, and U.S. airlines are working hard to ensure that your Turkey Day travels are as hassle-free as possible.
The airline industry is excited to help passengers connect with their families and friends over the holidays, but there’s an issue looming over air travel that could make it more expensive to travel to your loved ones all year round– the airport tax hike.
Just before the busiest travel season of the year, airports and their allies in Washington are trying to sneak through an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), a tax every passenger pays just for traveling through an airport. Customers already pay $63 in taxes on a typical $300 airline ticket, but for the airports, that’s just not enough.
In the epitome of a Washington backroom deal, this airport tax hike on everyone who flies won’t be part of a transportation bill, or even openly debated so people could rightfully object. Instead, it’s being tacked on as an amendment to a must-pass appropriations bill in the hopes that no one will notice. Nearly doubling a tax paid by every American air traveler isn’t something that should happen at all, let alone in secrecy using procedural loopholes.
While airports are reaching for your wallets, they’re trying to hide the fact that there’s never been less of a need for a PFC increase. 2016 was a record setting year for airport revenue. They brought in $28.8 billion, an 80% increase over 2000 levels and shattered the previous record set in 2015. Record collection levels of airline rents and fees, non-airline rents and fees and PFCs all helped contribute to airports’ best year ever.
But airports still think we should all pay more. They say they need the money, but that’s simply not the case. U.S. airports currently have $14.2 billion in unrestricted cash and investments and 300 days of cash on hand. They’re hardly hurting for funds. They’ve also got access to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) which grew 4.5 percent in 2017 and has reached another record high – $15.1 billion in annual revenues.
Airlines believe in being good partners for the airports and in improving all aspects of the travel experience for our customers. That’s why U.S. airlines invested more than $17.5 billion in 2016 to enhance the travel experience, and why over $100 billion in capital improvement projects have been competed, are underway or have been approved at the nation’s 30 largest airports alone since 2008.
Passengers shouldn’t have to worry about an airport tax hike making it more expensive to be with the people they care about over the holidays.
You can help support your fellow travelers by visiting stopairtaxnow.com and sending a letter to your senators urging them not to increase the Passenger Facility Charge.