Last updated: 12:27 PM ET, Thu April 23 2015

GBTA Urges Congress to Oppose Proposed PFC Increase

Business Travel | Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) | Patrick Clarke | April 23, 2015

GBTA Urges Congress to Oppose Proposed PFC Increase

The Global Business Travel Association has joined U.S. airlines in opposing the proposed increase in the Passenger Facility Charge from $4.50 to $8 as a means to improve infrastructure at airports across the country. 

"With business travelers already paying $44.20 in taxes and fees on top of their airfare, it’s time for the airports to stop looking to business travelers to fill their already deep coffers," said GBTA executive director and COO Michael McCormick in a statement released on Wednesday. 

"The Global Business Travel Association calls on the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security subcommittee to oppose raising the Passenger Facility Charge from $4.50 to $8, which, when combined with other proposed tax and fee increases, would raise the amount paid for each ticket to nearly $60."

The controversial proposal was presented in the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, and has become a polarizing topic ever since. While the U.S. Travel Association has made its support for the increase public on multiple occasions, airlines contend that the increase would slow demand for air travel.

However, the GBTA's stance is backed by different reasoning. In his statement, McCormick went on to detail how today's business travelers are already playing a critical role in economic development. 

"Road warriors are helping to strengthen and drive our economy – in 2015 alone business travelers are expected to spend a record $295.7 billion," he added. "It’s clear: travel should be promoted, rather than taxed ad nauseam." 

Citing a 2014 survey, McCormick noted that two-thirds of GBTA members opposed a PFC increase.

Interestingly, according to a survey conducted by the USTA last month, six in 10 travelers would pay the $8 charge in order to address aging infrastructure. Nonetheless, McCormick concluded his statement by calling out the nation's airports. 

"What’s more, airports don’t need the funding.  Since 2008, more than $70 billion in capital improvement projects have been completed, are underway or have been approved at airports across the country," said McCormick, adding that "airports also have more than $11 billion in unrestricted cash and investments, while bringing in more revenue every year (a record-high $24.5 billion in 2013) to help prepare them for tomorrow’s passengers."

McCormick's comments came in anticipation of the Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Senate subcommittee's hearing on airport funding scheduled for Thursday. 


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