Could Higher Fees Be Coming to Air Travel?

With the federal government looking to find new ways to offset the deficit, one of the options for Congress is a series of additional fees on air travel.

Flying isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, and a set of tax proposals could prevent things from getting any cheaper on the business travel front anytime soon.

What the taxes, proposed in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget plan as a means to reduce the deficit, could mean for you:

What’s in the pipeline: In the latest effort to reduce the federal deficit, lawmakers are looking at tacking a series of extra fees on air travel proposed in the White House fiscal 2014 blueprint. Though Congress rejected the budget itself,  measures like these fee increases could  get another look. The proposals include a gradual increase in the maximum Aviation Passenger Safety Fee passengers pay to $7.50 per flight as well as the introduction of a departure tax for flights, which would cost airlines $100 each. The fees paid by the airlines (likely to be handed down to consumers) would largely go toward paying down the deficit, according to the White House budget plan, though some of the revenue would be set aside for the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Air Marshal Service.

Will these pass? As of right now, that’s unclear, though the proposals are certainly on the table as Congress reconvenes. According to MarketWatch’s Jennifer Waters, the efforts to pass the departure tax in 2011 fell on deaf ears thanks to the antitax sentiment among congressional Republicans. It’s a sentiment echoed now by Airlines for America, whose President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio was quoted in a press release as saying: “The president’s budget represents an unprecedented tax grab on the backs of airlines and their customers who already pay more than their fair share of taxes.”

A global association’s response: In a statement ahead of the International Air Transport Association’s annual meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, the group’s Director-General and CEO Tony Tyler argued that such regulations as the ones being proposed in the United States would hurt the long-term path of the industry. “We don’t want a handout, but we also don’t want to be singled out for special fees and taxes, and commercial regulations that chill market creativity and initiative,” Tyler said in comments reported by The Hindu.  IATA represents 240 airlines and 90 percent of global air traffic.

Do you think additional taxes on flights would affect your travel plans? Let us know your take in the comments below.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!