ATR Opposes the Passenger Facility Charge Airfare Hike

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Posted by Michael Palicz on Friday, March 1st, 2019, 6:35 PM PERMALINK

House Democrats continue to advocate for raising the cost of airfare travel by hiking the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), a fee for every enplaned passenger at commercial airports controlled by public agencies.

In a recent press conference, House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen (D-WA) signaled their support for hiking the current cap on passenger facility charges from $4.50 to $8.50 per flight segment.

ATR strongly opposes this effort which would add an unnecessary and unfair burden to airline passengers. The proposed 90 percent fee increase is entirely unnecessary and comes at a time when airports already have ample funding for infrastructure investment.

As ATR President Grover Norquist stated in a letter sent last month, there is simply no case to be made for our publicly-run airports to plead poverty and ask passengers to pay higher fees.

According to a Congressional Budget Office report from this January, the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) is expected to have an uncommitted balance of $9.9 billion by the end of 2020, a $3.8 billion increase from 2018. In 2019, the AATF is projected to have the largest uncommitted balance in any year since Congress capped the PFC at its current level. This past year, Congress provided an additional $1 billion in AIP grants for airport improvement during FAA Reauthorization.

In 2017, airport revenues nearly reached $30 billion, marking an 87% rise since 2000 and outpaced the growth of flights, passengers and inflation. Revenue generated from the PFC has more than doubled since 2000 and is projected to reach $3.6 billion in 2019.

Doubling the PFC would result in yet another increase in the cost of air travel for passengers. Taxes already make up over 20% of the cost of an average domestic flight, our lawmakers shouldn’t be adding to this burden by hiking the PFC.

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