US Airlines seek funding changes for airports

The Air Transport Association and Delta Air Lines have testified before the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of the House Ways and
Means Committee regarding the current Airport and Airway Trust Fund tax
system and how alternate funding may be structured.The passenger airline members of the ATA put forth to the Committee a
financing proposal that is designed to cover the passenger airlines’
share of air traffic control (ATC) and airport system costs while at the
same time providing a predictable revenue stream to fund the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) upgrades to a satellite-based,
information-centric ATC system that is essential to the future of
aviation in the United States.

“I am pleased that ATA passenger airlines collaboratively have
developed a financing proposal designed to cover the passenger airlines’
share of ATC and airport system costs,” said ATA President and CEO James
C. May. “Our sustainable proposal returns to the user-pays, cost-based
funding principles implemented by Congress in the 1970s. The proposal
also restores fairness and predictability; it is a per-passenger tax
that is more closely tied to the FAA projected costs, and allows FAA to
better support long-term investments in technology and infrastructure.”


Also testifying today was Delta Air Lines COO James Whitehurst, who
joined ATA’s Jim May in explaining the urgent need for an updated and
equitable funding system.



“Our funding mechanism - a passenger tax - takes advantage of the
existing tax collection infrastructure but is tied to projected costs,”
said Whitehurst. “The proposal is grounded in the principle that taxing
departures and distance is the best way to recover the costs that
aircraft impose on the air traffic and airport infrastructure.”


The airlines’ proposal was designed around the premise that airline
passengers currently bear the brunt of funding FAA programs - far out of
proportion to the costs they impose or the benefits they receive. While
the ATA proposal does not directly address other user groups, the
expectation is that each would be required to pay their fair share as
well, rather than continue to be subsidized by airline passengers.