Today’s posting is in response to a comment posted in response to my blog on Monday: A PFC Hike Meets the Needs of a Divided Electorate.
Carl – thanks for your comment and for giving me the opportunity to correct some of the lies that you (and others) have been told about the PFC by airlines.
First, the airlines get paid for collecting the Passenger Facility Charges and in 2009 that meant at least $75 million to the airlines bottom line.
Second, the PFC was put into place because airlines blocked any terminal expansion that would allow new competition. Without the PFC, passengers would not enjoy the competition they now have in Baltimore, Burlington, Philadelphia and many other airports. With increasing airline consolidation, the PFC is even more important now!
Third, the regulations specifically prohibit PFCs from being used for building revenue generating areas such as retail and concessions. And speaking of services for passengers – the ACI-NA Concessions Benchmarking Survey released today in Phoenix, shows that air travelers are demanding more variety and better quality food and retail options at airports. Just because many airlines no longer listen to their customers doesn’t mean that airports shouldn’t. Airlines encourage airports to have more diverse non-airline revenues because it reduces their rates and charges – just like the PFC does!
Fourth, airline CEOs have told me privately they like the PFC as a way to fund airport terminal renovation and expansion because it keeps their costs low.
The issue is about control – the airlines want it and if they are successful that means higher fares and fewer choices for passengers. Airports are accountable to their communities – and the citizens of those communities want their airports to deliver that price and service competition.