Americans are divided when it comes to many issues but a proposed increase of the airport traveler tax isn’t one of them.
According to a survey of more than 1,600 registered voters nationwide conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies (WINS) this past summer, eight out of 10 Americans oppose efforts to increase the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).
The PFC is currently capped at $4.50 per flight segment and $18 per roundtrip flight per passenger. However, the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure is considering legislation that would increase the tax and possibly eliminate the cap entirely.
Interestingly, given the current political climate, opposition to proposed PFC increases is bipartisan, with 83 percent of Democrats and 81 percent of Republicans disapproving of the proposed increase.
A majority of respondents (65 percent) indicated that they are satisfied with the quality of the nation’s airports at the moment while 85 percent believe that U.S. airports already receive enough in taxpayer subsidies to fund improvement projects, the study found.
“Opposition to increasing the PFC tax is overwhelming and bipartisan,” said Scott Kotchko, President of Whitman Insight Strategies, in a statement accompanying the findings. “The average American thinks our airports themselves are great, that they’re already well-funded, and believes that congress should focus on improving our crumbling roads and bridges instead of taxing families to give more money to airports. It’s the transportation version of the rich getting richer.”
WINS’ survey results suggest Americans would rather see improvements made to the country’s roads, bridges, railways and public transportation systems. After all, fewer than one-half of survey respondents indicated that they are satisfied with the quality of the aforementioned infrastructure.
What’s more, most Americans (56 percent) believe that the quality and condition of the country’s roads and bridges has gotten worse over the past five years, with 82 percent saying that they’d prefer to see the government spend time and resources funding road, rail and port improvements rather than focusing on airports.
The results are significant in that more and more people are taking to the skies each year. In July, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that global airlines airlines/iata-reveals-airlines-carried-44-billion-passengers-in-2018.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>carried approximately 4.4 billion passengers last year, which signaled an increase of 6.9 percent from the previous year.
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IATA: Damage to Air Travel Will Extend Into 2023
Any comeback by the beleaguered airline industry will extend into 2023, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airlines’ main trade group.
Long-haul travel will continue to lag behind and passenger fears about flying in general will contribute to the delay, Lonely Planet reported.
IATA estimates that passenger traffic won’t rebound to pre-crisis levels until at least 2023. It expects that global passenger demand in 2021 will be 24 percent below 2019 levels and 32 percent lower than the forecast the association made in October 2019.
The new data is based on a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders could return if the virus comes back strong in the fall and winter with a second wave, as some health officials have predicted.
In addition, another contributing factor is quarantine measures that have been instituted by various countries as well as individual states in the U.S. According to IATA, 69 percent of recent travelers that it surveyed said they would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period once they arrive at their destination. IATA is asking governments to find alternatives to the quarantine measures.
Of course, all of this is contingent upon the public’s willingness to fly—and instilling confidence in that will take time, said IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
“To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for the economic recovery, we must not make that prognosis worse by making travel impracticable with quarantine measures,” he said. “We need a solution for safe travel that addresses two challenges. It must give passengers the confidence to travel safely and without undue hassle, and it must give governments confidence that they are protected from importing the virus.”
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