Airlines have long been under fire for raising airfares and adding on additional expenditures such as fees for checked baggage; however, a recent tax increase proposed by President Obama now has the travel industry enraged.
Recently, President Obama requested that airline passengers pay a few extra dollars for their airline tickets to help out with the Nation’s deficit. While a few dollar hike increase doesn’t seem like much, regional airports are worried that the heightened costs may further hinder business. The conditions under the tax proposal include:
a $100 take off fee for each time a commercial airliner or corporate jet takes off
an increase in the passenger security fee need to cover TSA expenses. Fees would rise from $2.50 to $5 one way, and would rise an additional $.50 a year until 2017.
With the new tax, President Obama hopes to raise nearly $36 billion to put towards the $4 trillion in deficit he hopes to remove from the Nation’s grand total within the next decade.
While passengers may not see the effects of the proposed bill for awhile, both national and regional airports feel as those the taxes would come at a time when the industry is already struggling.
“Aviation shouldn’t be a piggy bank for every other purpose,” stated President of the Regional Airline Association, Roger Cohen. “This was proposed, I think, based on the bank robber Willie Sutton theory that this is where the money is.”
The regional airport industry is by far the most upset about the proposed tax increase, believing that the $100 take off fee will greatly affect them. Most regional flights are simply from smaller airports to larger international airports, and only carry a handful of passengers. Upping the fee of these flights, could potentially cause regular users to drive the hours to the larger airport simply to save on airfare.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s just a question of how many would lose service,” stated Cohen. “They might as well put the ‘Closed, going out of business, not coming back’ sign on every one of those communities.”
Other regional airport representatives simply don’t understand how they could be charge the same fee as airports that frequently have plans taking off with ten times the amount of passengers.
Nearly 20 percent of the average airline ticket is already made up of federal taxes, fees, and airport charges. Under the new tax proposal, those frequenting direct flights could see taxes double within a year, and triple in years to come.
For TSA, the hike in fee is upsetting because they wouldn’t see much of the raised money. Of the $24.9 billion the tax would raise, over half, $15 billion to be exact, would go to the national deficit not TSA.
“It’s just really unacceptable,” states Director of Consumer Travel Alliance, Charles Leocha. “They’re basically saying they’re going to take out money and put in in another pocket.”
While the bill will still struggle for some time before passing, those planning on traveling in the future should book their tickets now before fees climb any higher. As fuel prices continue to rise and the deficit becomes a more pressing issue, it is only imminent that airline prices will go higher.