WASHINGTON, May 24, 2017 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today urged Members of Congress to prioritize efforts to return billions of dollars in security fees that were diverted to pay for non-aviation related purposes, rather than raising taxes on the traveling public, as suggested in the White House’s 2018 budget proposal.
A4A has consistently opposed tax increases that further burden consumers and deter air travel. U.S. aviation and our customers are already subject to 17 federal aviation taxes and ‘fees’, in addition to standard corporate taxes. In Fiscal Year 2016 alone, special U.S. taxes on airlines and their customers totaled approximately $23.1 billion – more than $63 million per day.
“There is no justification for asking airline customers to pay more, particularly while our government is diverting billions of dollars in security fees away from TSA checkpoints,” said A4A. “Rather than saddling passengers with higher taxes, Congress’s first priority should be to return the billions of dollars passengers have already paid back to where it belongs: paying for aviation security. Tax increases are not the answer, and will only serve to drive up the cost of flying for millions of Americans who rely on air travel, cost jobs, limit service options to small and medium communities and ultimately harm the U.S economy.”
Specifically, the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request proposes $977 million in new and higher federal aviation taxes and fees on the traveling and shipping public, including:
TSA Passenger Security Fee Increase
The Budget proposes to increase the Passenger Security Fee by $1 per one-way trip, in order to raise the cost recovery of the fee to 75 percent of total aviation security costs. The budget indicates the fee increase would raise an additional $530 million in 2018.
Immigration Inspection User Fee & Customs Fee Increases
The Budget proposes an increase in the customs user fee from $5.50 to $7.50 and immigration user fee from $7.00 to $9.00. We estimate this will cost passengers approximately an additional $447 million annually.
A4A noted the all too common trend of diversion of these revenues away from their stated purpose and toward other purposes, such as deficit reduction or other sectors of government. In fact, since 2013, more than $13 billion in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fees have been diverted away from their intended purpose, which is to pay for aviation security screening.