If Airports Want to Push Through a Tax Hike, They Should Collect it Themselves
WASHINGTON, November 16, 2017 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today urged Congress to reject a proposed increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), also known as the airport tax.
Nicholas E. Calio, the president and CEO of A4A, today urged Senate appropriators to first make better use of existing resources, like the unobligated and unspent balance of nearly $6 billion in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), before raising taxes on passengers who are already overburdened by taxes on their airline tickets.
Nearly doubling the PFC tax – as proposed in a Senate appropriations bill – would cost travelers another $2.6 billion per year, revenue that is not needed by airports. Airport revenues are at an all-time high, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) collecting $14 billion dollars in taxes on passengers during FY2017 – more than it has ever collected. Record revenues and tax collections combined with the AATF balance of nearly $6 billion means there’s more money available than ever before for Congress to spend on airport infrastructure.
“The traveling public is weary of being a Congressional piggybank. Congress should not raise taxes on passengers, especially when there are record amounts of tax revenue sitting idle in the bank,” said Calio. “The financial strength of airports, combined with low-interest bonding capabilities, are exactly why the airport community has been unable to name a single project that’s without funding.”
Despite the unprecedented strong financial state of the airports, they remain the biggest advocates for increasing taxes on Americans who fly. The airports are shielded from facing the consequences with consumers because an airport tax hike is hidden in advertised airfares, meaning passengers see it as a fare increase rather than the tax hike it is.
“If the airport community truly needs this money at a time of record-high airport revenues and financing availability, then they should be willing and required to collect the tax themselves,” Calio said in his letter. “It’s time the airports were transparent and held accountable.”
A recent Morning Consult poll showed that most passengers are unaware that this tax increase was slipped into a bill by a Committee without jurisdiction over the PFC, but oppose it when they are made aware. Proponents of this PFC tax increase are counting on classic Washington D.C. tactics to further insulate them from customer criticism. We urge Congress to reject this unjustified tax increase.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.4 million passengers and more than 58,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.