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11 Jan, 2014

To cut budget deficit, U.S. govt making airline pax its “personal ATM”


WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 09, 2014 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, issued the following statement urging Members of Congress to reject any new taxes or fee increases on airline passengers under consideration in the Omnibus appropriations bill:


Ever wondered why IATA, PATA, UNWTO, WTTC and other international travel industry organisations are not creating a hue and cry over this outrageous taxing of passengers by the U.S. government? This taxing is the direct downstream result of the expensive conflict in Iraq and the “war on terror” mounted by the U.S. government in the last decade. None of the international travel organisations had the guts to speak out against any of those conflicts, and now do not have the guts to speak out against the price and the costs being paid, first by airline passengers to and from the U.S. and very soon in future by airline passengers worldwide.

Congress is considering a 30 percent increase in the immigration user fee paid by airline passengers on international flights to the United States as part of the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations package. The proposed hike, which would increase that fee from $7 to $9, comes just weeks after Congress passed a budget agreement that more than doubled the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) passenger security tax, costing airline passengers $1 billion annually. Beginning in July, that tax jumps from $2.50 per flight segment to $5.60 per one-way trip, and the revenue generated from the higher fee will be used to reduce the federal deficit, not enhance security.

“Congress cannot continue to solve its spending problems on the backs of airline passengers,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “The government must stop using airlines and their passengers as its own personal ATM whenever it needs more money. Higher taxes are a lose-lose for airlines, passengers, jobs and our overall economy, and we urge all Members of Congress to oppose raising the immigration fee, further burdening airline passengers who are already paying more than their fair share.”

Calio applauded the House-passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, led by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Subcommittee Chairman John Carter (R-TX), which did not call for higher immigration fees.

While DHS provides immigration services to all gateways to the U.S., airline passengers pay the most to enter the country, while those who enter by rail, bus, car or on foot pay nothing. Last year, airline passengers paid $672 million in immigration fees, which covers nearly 95 percent of total DHS immigration service costs.