ATM Modernization, Business & GA, Commercial

Aviation Groups Oppose Proposed Tax Hike

By Tish Drake | September 20, 2011
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Aviation industry groups, including the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA), are criticizing an Obama Administration proposal to increase airline passenger security fees and air traffic control fees for general aviation.

President Obama, as part of his economic recovery and deficit reduction plan, has proposed increasing passenger security fees to $5 for one-way and $10 per round trip tickets, and increasing fees for air traffic control services to $100 per "aircraft," regardless of size. Currently, a large commercial aircraft would pay between $1,300 to $2,000 in taxes for a flight from Los Angles to San Francisco while a corporate jet flying the same route would pay about $60 in taxes.

The Aircraft Electronics Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the International Council of Air Shows, the National Association of State Aviation Officials, the National Air Transportation Association and the National Business Aviation Association jointly issued a statement saying this per-flight tax imposes "a significant new administrative burden on general aviation operators who currently pay through an efficient per-gallon fuel charge at the pump, but it will also necessitate the creation of a costly new federal collection bureaucracy."

"As you know, the issue of how general aviation can best contribute revenue to the federal government has been the subject of significant study and debate as part of the FAA reauthorization process. After careful consideration, both chambers of Congress have passed bills that endorse the per-gallon fuel charges rather than adopt a per-flight tax similar to the one you propose. In fact, Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives felt so strongly about this issue that 116 members of that body sent you a letter earlier this year saying new aviation charges like the one you are now proposing would be ‘dead on arrival."

RAA estimates these new taxes which combined would add nearly $900 million in new taxes on passengers and airlines in the first year could cause sharp service reductions at all U.S. communities, outright elimination of scheduled air service at potentially hundreds of small- and medium-sized communities, and would aggravate the country’s jobs crisis beginning Day One by threatening the job security of 53,000 airline workers.

"The context and math here is pretty easy to understand”, said RAA President Roger Cohen. “The new per flight tax alone would cost more than all regional airlines likely earned combined last year, jeopardizing the jobs of the 53,000 men and women who work directly for our member airlines and the thousands of other people whose livelihoods are tied to regional airlines.”

“These new taxes will also cut the legs out from the 500 U.S. communities who rely exclusively on regional airlines for their only scheduled flights,” added Cohen.

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