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US airline trade group opposes air travel tax hikes

US trade group Airlines for America said it is opposing a move to increase the Transportation Security Administration passenger security tax and urged the US Congress not to close a budget deal on the backs of airline passengers and shippers who they say are already overtaxed.

In a joint letter to US House and Senate Budget Committee chairmen Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, the coalition urged negotiators to reject any increase in the TSA passenger security tax. Joining A4A in this call to action are the Air Line Pilots Association, Global Business Travel Association, International Air Transport Association, Consumer Travel Alliance, Aeronautical Repair Station Association and the Regional Airline Association.

As the coalition letter notes, doubling the TSA passenger security tax from USD 2.50 to USD 5 won´t improve airport security, but instead will negatively impact customers by driving up the cost of air travel.

Congress, the group said, should instead focus on improving the efficiency of TSA, which collected USD 2.3bn in security taxes from airlines and their customers last year, more than double the amount collected in 2002.

The group said that, rather than increasing taxes on passengers, TSA can further implement proven, risk-based screening programs like TSA Pre for passengers and the Known Crewmember program for pilots and flight attendants.

Congress has increased TSA´s budget by 18% from 2007 to 2012, yet the number of people screened by TSA dropped 11 % during the same time period.

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