While millions of Americans are paying their annual taxes today, for more than two million air travelers across the country, every day is tax day according to Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines.
Today, 21 percent or $63 of a typical $300 domestic one-stop, round-trip domestic ticket comes out of the traveler’s pocket and goes straight to the government. Aviation and its customers pay 17 different federal taxes and fees that totaled over $20 billion in 2014. In fact, air travel is taxed at much higher rates than other modes of transportation. Aviation’s federal tax rate is higher than that of alcohol or tobacco – products taxed to discourage their use.
Most recently, airports have called on Congress to nearly double the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), or Airport Tax, despite collecting a near record $2.8 billion in PFC revenue in 2014. If the airports get their tax increase, a family of four taking one round trip could expect to pay up to $136 just in airport taxes – $64 more taken directly out of the pockets of American families.
“There isn’t a crisis in airport funding. U.S. airport revenues grew 52 percent on a per passenger basis from 2000-2013, far exceeding inflation,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Airports already have more than $11 billion in unrestricted cash and investments, which would allow them to operate for nearly a year without new funds.”
This week, A4A launched a series of videos featuring families, business travelers and other passengers discussing how an increase in the Airport Tax would impact them personally. The videos, which can be found at www.stopairtaxnow.com are part of A4A’s campaign to keep the PFC cap where it is.
As travelers continue to bear the brunt of this tax burden, airlines continue to invest to enhance the travel experience. At the country’s largest 30 airports alone, more than $70 billion in capital improvement projects have been completed, are underway or have been approved by U.S. airlines and their airport partners since 2008, not to mention numerous infrastructure projects at hundreds of smaller airports across the country. In addition, airlines are investing more than $1 billion each month, the highest level in 13 years, in the customer experience – in the air, on the ground and online.