The budget deal reached by negotiators in Washington this week is
good news for the economy, but not so much for airlines.
The deal, which still has to pass both houses of Congress but is supported by the leaders of both parties, would increase the security fees airlines pay to the TSA.
The exact cost has not been fixed, but industry groups guess it will roughly double to about $US5 per one-way ticket, according to Reuters.
That extra cost will most likely be passed right on to travellers, with out any clear travel benefits.
In a blog post from last week, JetBlue didn’t mince words: “This plan will not improve airport security — it simply hikes TSA passenger taxes to reduce the budget deficit. But it will definitely drive up the cost of your air travel.”
Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson has already said his airline will make up the money by raising fares, the AP reported.
A spokesperson said American Airlines “supports the bill,” and directed us to Airlines for America (A4A), which represents all the major U.S. carriers, for additional commentary.
A4A didn’t respond to a request for comment, but President Nicholas E. Calio disparaged the fee hike as a way to boost government spending, in an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner:
Perhaps the most disturbing fact about the impending budget agreement is that the new revenue to be collected would not even be used by the TSA to improve service for passengers. Rather, the extra revenue would enable more spending across the entire federal government. It’s a classic bait-and-switch.
In a statement, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow questioned whether the fee would improve air travel: “It is concerning that the move appears primarily aimed at getting a big chunk of Transportation Security Administration funding off the strapped federal ledger,” he wrote. “Our hope is that the new funding structure will be used to perceptibly enhance TSA’s functions.
The increased TSA fee will generate about $US10 billion in revenue over 10 years, Reuters reports.
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