Thursday, January 29, 2015

Which airlines are not raising fares equal to the lapsed federal taxes?

The answer to my headline question as of this morning? Only Alaska, Virgin America and Frontier have not raised ticket prices to take advantage of the political standoff in Washington that has denied funding to much of the Federal Aviation Administration. And of the three, only Frontier serves PHL. The FAA's air-traffic control system appears to be functioning normally today, with the airport's PHL.org Web site reporting mostly on-time operations. Here is the story of how all the other airlines immediately raised ticket prices when the lack of an FAA funding bill meant the agency no longer had the authority to collect the taxes that are part of every ticket. What FAA can't collect in aviation taxes is noted in this story.

Which airlines are not raising fares equal to the lapsed federal taxes?

The answer to my headline question as of this morning? Only Alaska, Virgin America and Frontier have not raised ticket prices to take advantage of the political standoff in Washington that has denied funding to much of the Federal Aviation Administration. And of the three, only Frontier serves PHL. The FAA's air-traffic control system appears to be functioning normally today, with the airport's PHL.org Web site reporting mostly on-time operations. Here is the story of how all the other airlines immediately raised ticket prices when the lack of an FAA funding bill meant the agency no longer had the authority to collect the taxes that are part of every ticket. What FAA can't collect in aviation taxes is noted in this story.

What's  the reason for the lack of funding for the FAA?  Although much criticized, the agency usually has had  bipartisan support. This dispute is over $16.5 million for subsidized air service for rural areas, including some airports in Pennsylvania. House Republicans intent on shrinking government down to the point it can be drowned in a bathtub believe that stopping that kind of cost is important enough to hold up the entire FAA budget. More background on the dispute and more information on what the ticket-tax suspension means can be found in the links above.

Tom Belden
About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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