Measure in U.S. House to double airline security tax levied last fall will further injure air travel industry.

WASHINGTON – House appropriators, looking for more revenue to spend in an already bloated federal budget, are looking to a new source of cash: airline passenger fees.

The supplemental appropriations bill pending before the House of Representatives would double the passenger security fee from $2.50 to $5.00, capped at $20 per roundtrip. The measure will undoubtedly decrease air travel in an industry that is already hurting in the post-September 11th economy.

"Make no mistake: raising airline \’fees\’ is a tax increase," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "If appropriators can\’t find enough money to fund their programs in a two-trillion dollar budget without raising taxes, they have failed at the job their constituents sent them to accomplish."

The security tax, levied after September 11th of last year, is one of a host of other already onerous airline ticket taxes. Consider:

  • Federal Ticket Tax: This tax is an additional 7.5% of the base fare.
  • Federal flight segment tax: This is a $3.00 tax levied every time passengers board the plane.
  • Federal Security Surcharge: Currently at $2.50 for each leg of a commercial trip, appropriators seek to double this to $5.
  • Airport Passenger Facility Charge: Levied by local airport operators who set the amounts at up to $4.50 each boarding
  • Frequent Flyer Tax: Paid by airlines and passengers with free miles.
  • Jet fuel tax: Each gallon of jet fuel is taxed by 4.3 cents, a cost transferred to passengers.
  • LUST Fuel Tax: This .1-cent tax on every domestic gallon of jet fuel goes to the "leaking underground storage tank trust fund."

This does not even include the taxes included in the base fare, which puts the average airline ticket at 40% taxes and 60% all other costs. Under certain circumstances, total taxes and fees as a percentage can be as high as 50%.

"Only a Washington politician could come up with taxing an industry that lost billions last year and is teetering on bankruptcy," continued Norquist. "Appropriators should be looking for cost savings – and a good way to do that would be to privatize the FAA. Airline regulations need real reform – not quick tax hikes."