Airline trade group says Obama budget would hike ticket prices

The airline industry is warning that passengers would shoulder the financial burden if Congress backs new taxes on tickets and air carriers in the Obama administration’s budget proposal.

“The president’s budget represents an unprecedented tax grab on the backs of airlines and their customers, who already pay more than their fair share of taxes,” Nicholas E. Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America, said in a statement Thursday.

He said the budget plan would add an annual $5.5 billion to the $19 billion already paid by airlines and their passengers.

Obama’s proposal would triple the passenger security tax that supports the Transportation Security Administration to $7.50 per flight, he said. It also would add a new $100-per-flight tax on airlines and increase several other smaller fees.

“Instead of using the U.S. airline industry and its customers as a piggy bank for deficit reduction, this Administration should view airlines as the engine of economic growth they are,” Calio said in the statement. “Our fragile economy and the millions of middle class Americans who rely on air travel and shipping every day simply cannot afford tax increases that will drive up the cost of flying or limit service options to small communities.”

The trade group said that on a typical $300 round-trip ticket, passengers pay about $61 in taxes, and that amount would increase to almost $75 under the administration’s budget.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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