Increase in Airport Tax Faces Stiff Opposition

By A4A, Special for  USDR

Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today released the findings of a nationwide survey showing voters overwhelmingly oppose an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) – also known as the Airport Tax. The survey of 1,000 registered voters, conducted by The Tarrance Group, found 82 percent of voters oppose almost doubling the PFC and tying future automatic increases to inflation. Additionally, voters also understand airports have the resources they need to fund projects and believe air travelers are already taxed  enough.

“Since 2008, over $70 billion of airport capital projects have been completed, are underway or are approved by U.S. airlines and their airport partners at the nation’s largest 30 airports. Voters correctly believe that airports have plenty, yet passengers are taxed  enough.”

The survey results are being released as a growing chorus of airlines, industry stakeholders, anti-tax advocates, organized labor and consumer groups voice their opposition to airports’ attempts to raise the cap on the  PFC.

“The lack of a crisis in airport funding hasn’t prevented some from trying to invent one,” said A4A President and CEONicholas E. Calio. “Since 2008, over $70 billion of airport capital projects have been completed, are underway or are approved by U.S. airlines and their airport partners at the nation’s largest 30 airports. Voters correctly believe that airports have plenty, yet passengers are taxed  enough.”

As part of its continued efforts to oppose additional taxes on passengers, A4A will be unveiling a series of ads demonstrating that an increase in the Airport Tax is neither wanted nor needed. One ad focuses on the airport lobby’s attempt to disguise the fact that hiking the current PFC cap is a tax increase, regardless of how they brand  it.

Key findings from the survey  include:

  • Voters View the PFC as a Tax, not a User Fee. A strong majority of voters – 65 percent – view the PFC as a tax because every flyer must pay  it.
  • Voters Say Passengers Are Already Taxed Enough. After learning that air travelers currently pay $63 in taxes on a typical domestic $300 round-trip ticket, 81 percent of voters are less likely to support an increase in the  PFC.
  • Voters Know Airports are Well-Funded. When informed that airports have investment-grade credit, are financially sound, have ample access to the bond market to raise money and currently hold more than $11 billion dollars in unrestricted cash, 75 percent of voters are less likely to support a PFC  increase.
  • Voters Understand Airports Have the Resources to Fund Projects. Since 2008, over $70 billion of airport capital projects have been completed, are underway or are approved by U.S. airlines and their airport partners at the nation’s largest 30 airports without any increases in the PFC – a fact that makes a full 65 percent of voters less likely to support an  increase.
  • Voters Believe Improving Roads and Bridges Should be a Priority Over Airports. Given the choice between improving airport facilities or improving roads and bridges, voters overwhelmingly support funding improvements to roads and bridges. An overwhelming majority of voters – 89 percent – select roads and bridges while just 6 percent select  airports.

Excerpts from the survey can be found  here.

“Recent Congresses—under Democratic and Republican control—have held the line on a PFC increase,” Calio concluded. “They did so because passengers, airlines and the U.S. economy cannot afford higher taxes and fees, and because airports are capable of addressing capital needs through existing revenue streams. The same is true today, if not more  so.”

ABOUT  A4A

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 11 million U.S. jobs. Airlines for America (A4A) vigorously 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. Our member carriers and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo  traffic.

America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the integral role the nation’s airlines play in connecting people and goods globally, spur the nation’s economic growth and create more high-paying jobs. A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for  everyone.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.