Right now, you spend $63 in taxes
on a typical $300 airline ticket.
Isn't that enough?
U.S airports charge passengers a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), a tax just for using the airport. Airports collected $3 billion in PFC revenue in 2015, the highest level in the history of the PFC program, and collections are estimated to have exceeded this in 2016. Even with all this revenue, the airports are claiming it's not enough. They're asking Congress to eliminate the PFC cap and give them unfettered control to charge passengers any amount they want.
Myths vs. FactsMyth
The PFC cap has not been adjusted since 2000 and airports need a “modernized” PFC to meet their infrastructure needs.Fact
Airports don’t need more money; they are already collecting record levels of revenues. In 2015, airline rents and fees hit a record $10.7 billion, non-airline rents and fees, such as parking, retail, food and beverage, reached a record $9.1 billion, and PFCs reached $3.0 billion, the highest level in the history of the PFC program. Passenger taxes also fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), which supports airport projects around the country through the Airport Improvement Program. The AATF is stable with an uncommitted balance of nearly $6 billion – the highest level since 2001 – providing a secure funding source for airport projects. Airports have almost $12.7 billion in unrestricted cash and investments and easy access to the bond market, which are at historically low interest rates given their investment-grade ratings. There is no need to “modernize” – or rather increase -- the Airport Tax on the backs of passengers because airports have plenty of money.Myth
Passengers can easily afford a PFC increase.Fact
American consumers are overburdened with federal taxes and fees. Today, federal taxes constitute 21 percent, or $63, of a typical domestic one-stop, round-trip ticket. Every dollar increase in the PFC will cost consumers $800 million more annually in taxes. If airports get their tax increase, the sky is the limit. This is real money taken directly out of the pockets of American families.Myth
A PFC increase will fund new facilities, attracting air service and lowering airfares.Fact
Raising the PFC tax would curb the expansion of U.S. air service and air travel growth. Air travelers are price-sensitive and even the smallest increase in airline ticket costs has a negative impact on travel decisions. In December 2014, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that increasing the PFC cap would slow passenger growth and reduce revenues in the AATF. New facilities can be funded through the existing array of airport finance mechanisms. Higher PFCs will discourage travel and, moreover, will hamper airlines ability to expand air service if faced with higher costs. In fact, higher PFCs might hurt competition as increased costs will disproportionately impact low-fare carriers who serve a larger share of price-sensitive customers.Myth
Without an increase in the PFC, the AATF will dry up.Fact
The AATF already has a healthy $6 billion uncommitted balance, the highest level since 2001. In addition, PFC revenues are not deposited into the AATF; they are remitted directly to the charging airports. The only effect a higher PFC would have on the AATF, as noted by the GAO, is to slow passenger growth and reduce revenues.Myth
Consumers firmly believe that an increase in the PFC is worth it because of the need for infrastructure projects like highways, roads, bridges and airports.Fact
Americans understand the PFC modernization jargon that airports are using to disguise their desire to hike the Airport Tax. In fact, a 2015 nationwide survey of 1,000 voters showed that 82 percent of respondents oppose hiking the PFC.
Tell your representative this tax hike won't fly with you
Airline Investment in Airport Improvement Projects
U.S. airlines invested $17 billion in 2015 to enhance the travel experience. Airport improvements include new terminals and runways, to upgraded check-in and gate experiences, as well as other amenities like charging stations. Airlines are strong partners in airport finance, and the long-standing collaboration with airports is helping make air travel more efficient and more convenient for all customers.
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