There’s a hidden tax on your airline tickets, and airports want to raise it even higher.
Since 2008, there have been
invested in airport improvement projects across the country.
Source: A4A analysis of FAA Form 127 airport database.
[R]evenues from the passenger facilities charge have increased substantially since the fee’s last increase in 2001, a windfall driven by the steady increase in the number of Americans who choose to fly. Revenue generated by the PFC has increased 60 percent in the last two decades.
Senior Fellow at the Jack Kemp Foundation
The best way we can continue to grow our airport is to increase the number of travelers, not increase the fees they are charged. Sioux Gateway passengers already pay twice the PFCs that a passenger originating and flying direct from a hub like Chicago might pay. This increase would have a negative effect on the number of folks that travel, and adversely impact airports like ours.
Sioux Gateway Airport board president
Airports are not in a funding crisis. They have billions in cash reserves, and they are already making massive capital improvements across the country. Congress should not add to the cost of flying. Leave the money in constituents’ pockets.
Former Secretary of Transportation
Not only are more people flying, which boosts PFC revenues, but other sources of funding for airports – rentals paid by restaurants, retailers, and hotels, in addition to other taxes – are growing as well…Airports are flush with cash, enjoying record revenues, and investment-grade bond ratings…Our members believe that the government should focus its efforts toward holding the line, or even reducing, the punishing tax burden that is borne by air travel consumers today.
President, National Air Carriers Association
If increasing the PFC measurably increased spending on security, as airports claim, I’d be out front supporting it. But it’s simply not the case.
Former U.S. TSA Administrator
Airports do not need an additional stream of funds. Here in Maine, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just awarded 10 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants to airports throughout the state. That’s millions of dollars now sitting in the pockets of airports. And nearly $7 billion of uncommitted funds sits in the Airport and Airway Trust Fund designated strictly for renovations.
Former Maine House representative, District 22
Given their current level, raising federal fees should be done only if absolutely necessary — and no one can credibly argue that our airports are starved for revenues, given the flurry of construction taking place at airports around the country.
Senior Fellow at the Jack Kemp Foundation
The PFC proposal is simply an attempt by cash-rich airport operators to offload costs onto consumers. Air travelers already pay their fair share. They don't need to pay another tax.
CEO of Empower Texans
Are airports “desperately” in need of additional money? Not even close. In reality, with air traffic up and federal funding growing rapidly, U.S. airports are thriving. In 2017, airport revenues broke records, reaching nearly $30 billion. Passenger growth has sent airport revenues soaring, a key reason why increasing the PFC is simply not necessary. The $3.5 billion airports collected last year was more than double the amount collected in 2001. Today, PFC collections are more than $1 billion higher than if they had just kept pace with inflation.
American Consumer Institute President
Southwest Florida International Airport just announced a $170 million expansion to accommodate its rapidly rising passenger volume. Tampa International Airport just tore down a parking garage as part of its $2.6 billion, three-part renovation plan. In New York, LaGuardia just opened a huge, new 18-gate concourse. Austin Bergstrom International unveiled an in-terminal live music performance space. And Nashville's airport is pouring concrete for a massive new parking structure. All told, the nation's largest airports have spent $165 billion on modernizing their infrastructure in recent years. That's hardly the behavior you'd expect of a cash-strapped industry in distress.
Former Member of Miami-Dade Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee
Fortunately, our own Rep. Paul Mitchell is fighting back. At a recent House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, he exposed the proposed hike as an unnecessary cash grab. Under his polite but persistent questioning, airport officials conceded that their existing sources of funding were adequate. As Mitchell knows, any such tax hikes could make flying through Detroit Metro Airport prohibitively expensive for working-class families. Let's hope his colleagues agree.
Bay County (Mich.) Taxpayers Association Chairman
[R]evenues at domestic airports already total nearly $30 billion annually. And here in Mississippi, Gulfport-Biloxi International is thriving. This coming summer, it will add new direct flights to Austin, Texas, and Ft. Myers, Florida. Last fall, it opened a new, $800,000 hangar for private planes. Simply put, airports aren’t facing a cash crunch. In fact, local governments, which own and control most of America’s airports, diverted almost $5.4 billion away from airports in the last decade.
Mississippi Center for Public Policy
Raising the PFC cap will do little or nothing to improve airport security. It will, however, unnecessarily raise the cost of flying without addressing issues like reducing wait times or enhanced screening. That doesn’t make much sense.
Former U.S. TSA Administrator
In reality, with air traffic up and reserve funds growing, U.S. airports are thriving, and asking price-conscious air travelers to pay a higher PFC is unnecessary.
American Consumer Institute
Infrastructure and, in particular, airport infrastructure is vital to the business travel industry. However, the need for increased fees to pay for the infrastructure has been hotly contested. With business travelers taking to the skies on over 144 million trips a year, an increase in the PFC will have a drastic impact. If business travel decreases, the overall economy will suffer. GBTA research shows that for every 1 percent loss in business travel spending, the U.S. economy loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes. That’s too big of a risk to take.
The Global Business Travel Association
Rather than increasing the PFC, the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act required a study of airport diversion of PFC revenues — a sign of at least some concern on Congress’s part that proceeds from the charge may be suffering from inefficient or ineffective utilization. It would be premature to expand the PFC in such an environment, without considering other systemic reforms.
I have never met a traveler who thought they should pay more taxes for using an airport — and the truth is, they are right. American travelers have already used their hard-earned money to fund billions of dollars in airport renovations.
With so much cash on hand and record levels of airport revenue, there is simply no case to be made that our publicly controlled airports are desperate for infrastructure funds. Taxes already make up over 20 percent of the cost of an average domestic flight, our lawmakers shouldn’t be adding to this burden by hiking the PFC.
Americans for Tax Reform
It is always easier to tax those who cannot protest rather than look constituents in the eye and tell them you are taking their hard-earned money.