Airlines Agree On User Fees

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Airline executives who make up the Air Transport Association, which represents most of the major carriers in the U.S. have agreed to accept a system of user fees to replace ticket taxes "and other fees" currently collected to fund the FAA's now $14.3 billion budget, according to a Bloomberg News report. The collection of some $10 billion collected annually from the taxes and fees would be swapped for one "based on use of airspace," a step the report says "will be the basis of industry lobbying aimed at persuading Congress to change the way it finances the air traffic control system." Paying for actual use of the system may include take-off charges and metered fees based on use of air traffic control services. Alphabet groups hadn't had time to respond by our deadline. The imposition of user fees at the airlines' invitation puts the spotlight on the FAA, which some fear is seeking to impose similar fees on GA. From our perspective, there's been a noticeable uptick in major media attention to the National Airspace System in the past few months (the threat of VLJs, the FAA's financial woes, the political interference of Congress). Some might interpret that press push as a preamble to a pay-as-you-go system that (some feel) could save the cash-strapped airlines a bundle. Guess whom that could leave to take up the slack? Stay tuned...