Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today launched a campaign calling on the Administration and Members of Congress to take action to restore transparency in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) airline advertising rules to ensure consumers know exactly how much of their travel dollars are going to federal taxes.
In 2012, the federal government ended a 25-year-old practice that enabled airlines to clearly delineate in ads both the base airfare and the amount of taxes and fees that customers had to pay for a ticket. Because of that ruling, the government today is able to hide the outsized, ever-increasing amount that airline customers pay in government-imposed levies. In fact, the government’s ability to conceal such extra costs actually increases the temptation of lawmakers to raise taxes on airlines and their passengers and further puts air travel at a competitive disadvantage to other modes of transportation that do not have to include taxes in their fares, which ultimately hurts our economy and jobs.
Four decades ago, taxes and fees accounted for less than one tenth of the price of an airline ticket. Today, the amount has skyrocketed to nearly a quarter of the price or $62 on a typical $300 roundtrip domestic ticket. That amount is scheduled to rise in July to $63 when the Transportation Security Administration’s passenger tax increases to $5.60 on a one-way trip. It could go even higher if other taxes proposed by the Obama administration become law.
A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio noted that airlines have increased ticket transparency to unprecedented levels by breaking out the cost of services customers want so they can customize their travel experience, while also fighting against tax hikes that drive up the cost of travel. The government, however, continues to bury federally imposed taxes in the advertised cost of a ticket, making it more difficult for travelers to see what part of their ticket goes to air travel and what part goes to Washington. Calio issued a call to action for Congress and the Administration to restore the transparency that airline customers deserve.
“The government is playing a game of hide and seek by burying government taxes in the cost of a ticket – it’s adding insult to injury for airline customers already paying more than their fair share to Uncle Sam,” said Calio. “Today’s travelers want to know what they are paying for, and we urge the Administration and Congress to follow the lead of the airlines and give consumers the information they need and the transparency they deserve.”
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive more than $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. A4A airline members and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. America needs a cohesive National Airline Policy that will support the integral role the nation’s airlines play in connecting people and goods globally, spur the nation’s economic growth and create more high-paying jobs.
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