International Air Transportation Association (IATA) CEO Tony Tyler was critical of the federal government's handling of sequestration, airline taxes and fees and the 2014 budget proposal from President Barack Obama during a speech at the International Aviation Club in Washington D.C. Tuesday.
Tyler said the commercial aviation industry in the United States supports about 9.3 million jobs and is equivalent to about 4.9 percent of the country's GDP, but political struggles and over-regulation of the airline industry is crippling growth.
"Commercial aviation largely pays its own way through a plethora of dedicated fees and taxes representing around 20 percent of the cost of a domestic ticket. These fees and charges provided $19 billion to the government in 2012. Air travelers have every reason to expect these taxes will be used for the purpose for which they were intended, not held captive in a battle of political wills," said Tyler.
IATA said the Obama administration's 2014 budget proposal would add around $5.5 billion in additional fees and charges to airlines and operators based in the U.S. The organization's stance is similar to a group of bi-partisan lawmakers who recently sent a letter to the president opposing his newly proposed $100-per-flight user fee on commercial and general aviation operations.
Tyler was also critical of the sequestration air traffic control furloughs and flight delays. The IATA CEO believes the sequester could slow the implementation of NextGen, and is already impacting the airspace modernization project in New York due to a lack of funding.
“Despite the billions contributed by aviation in fees and charges, lack of adequate sustained funding is a perennial problem for aviation. It has slowed implementation of the New York airspace redesign and the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic modernization to the detriment of travelers and shippers,” said Tyler.
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