Just as the holiday travel season was getting under way, CNN published an article by Brett Snyder, the blogger at “The Cranky Flier.” Snyder discussed the new plan just set forth by the federal government to help shore up some revenue losses from the economic dip we’ve experienced these past few years.
It’s a two-pronged plan. The first part would simply increase the security fees levied on travelers when they fly. (And those costs would likely be passed directly on to passengers when they book flights.) But the second part is a bigger tax that would have pretty major implications for certain parts of the country: a $100 tax on every flight that takes off from any airport in any US city.
For big cities already served by a major airport — or sometimes even more than one — this proposed tax likely wouldn’t have much of an effect. The volume of travelers coming through and the sizes of the planes that take off from and land at these airports would allow these costs to be fanned out to the point where nobody has to feel too much pain. As little as $.50 per passenger.
But for smaller cities with smaller airports, which are often served by smaller aircraft, a $100 fee per plane is steep. Snyder points out in his article that for airports served by small, 19-seat aircrafts, the tax would add more than $5 per seat for a completely full flight. (That number obviously goes up when loads are lighter.)
This proposed tax could actually squeeze smaller metropolitan areas out of the airport business altogether because they either can’t afford the fees based on their volume — or they just won’t be able to justify staying open for reduced passenger loads when air travel plummets because travelers can’t afford to fly anymore.
There are a number of groups that are against these proposed taxes, including StopAirTaxNow.com (an airline industry group) and the American Aviation Institute. Only time will tell what happens here, but this year’s projected travel numbers paint a pretty clear picture that travelers know they still have options: of the 42.5 million travelers who traveled at least 50 miles this year for Thanksgiving, 38.2 million of them (that’s 90 percent!) chose to drive — up 4 percent from last year’s numbers.
A $100 tax could have a further slowing of airline travel, which could not only put small city airports out of business, but could have an opposite effect of the one the government is hoping to achieve.
- 2012 starts with more taxes for air travellers (shahmurad.wordpress.com)