ASTA Objects to Further Increase of Security Fees

Alexandria, Va., May 8, 2002 - The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) today raised strenuous objections to a Congressional proposal to double the amount of the airline security fee charged to consumers on airline tickets.

“Charging passengers up to $20 per roundtrip on top of the price of a ticket is excessive,” said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC. “When the security fee was first implemented, we supported it, stating that the cost of additional security should be divided between passengers, the airlines and the government. Passengers are already paying their fair share.

“When Congress bailed out the airlines to the tune of $15 billion, they said it was because the air transportation industry was vital to the economy,” said Copland. “If the economy is to continue its recovery, it is critical that Americans be encouraged to travel for business and pleasure. Additional fees at the time most people are planning their family vacations may just keep travelers at home. The government should be looking at providing incentives to travel, not disincentives.

“The airline bailout was premised on the importance of the industry to the whole economy,” he continued. “Since even non-travelers benefit from the economic effects of a viable air transportation system, it is appropriate that the cost of security for that system be borne in part by the general revenue and not just by users directly.”