Following Monday's announcement that airlines have collected almost $4.6 billion in baggage fees in 2017 - yet another new record - the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) again called on the U.S. airlines to drop their opposition to adjusting a local airport user fee known as the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) that finances the construction of new runways, terminals, gates and other airport improvements.
"With infrastructure investment high on the agenda in Washington, it's time for Congress and the administration to see past the self-serving and contradictory rhetoric of the airlines and remove the federal strictures on local passenger facility charges that continue to hamper airport development," AAAE President and CEO Todd Hauptli said.
According to data released on Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airlines collected almost $4.6 billion in baggage fees in 2017 - a $400 million increase from the previous year. Airlines collected another $2.9 billion in reservation change and cancellation fees during 2017, for a total of almost $7.5 billion in ancillary fees.
At the same time the airlines are collecting record baggage fees from their customers, airlines continue to oppose adjusting the federal cap on local PFCs, a user fee that must be justified locally, imposed locally and used locally on FAA-approved projects that enhance local airport facilities. The federal cap on the local PFC has not been adjusted since 2000. Despite misleading airline arguments, the PFC is not a tax and never goes to the federal Treasury, a fact verified by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.