Airlines for America, a trade organization for U.S. airlines, opposes increasing fees passengers pay when flying out of commercial airports, and if Congress approves a proposed increase, it might lead Arkansans to pay up to $6.8 million more in airport fees, according to a news release. The hike might be approved as soon as Jan. 19.
The proposed $4 increase would nearly double the passenger facility charge (PFC), a fee passengers pay that’s included in ticket prices and transferred to airports. If approved, the cap on the fee would increase to $8.50 on the first leg of each flight, from $4.50. The fee can only be charged on the first and second legs of a one-way trip, and the fee for the second leg of the flight would remain $4.50.
“This tax is wholly unnecessary and nothing more than a greedy and easy way for airports to raise more revenue by placing a greater economic burden on the backs of everyday commercial flyers who are already paying more than their fair share in aviation taxes,” said Charlie Leocha, president and co-founder of Travelers United.
In 2016, Arkansas commercial airports received $7 million in passenger facility charges. Clinton National Airport (LIT) received $3.917 million in PFC fees; Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, $2.734 million; and Fort Smith Regional Airport, $342,942, according to the news release. If the increase is approved, the previous airports could see additional fee revenue of $3.679 million, $2.583 million and $329,520, respectively.
Nationwide, U.S. airports received $3.15 billion in PFC fees in 2016, and if the proposed increase is approved, they could receive an additional $2.68 billion in fees.