As everyone knows, Congress could not agree on a 21st extension of FAA’s authorization. Not only will FAA have to cut off investment in infrastructure and facilities and research, but the ticket tax paid by air passengers to finance the trust fund has expired and won’t be collected.
So….you might expect that airlines would pass the savings along to the passengers. If you expected that you must have been living under a damn rock. Of course the airlines won’t pass that along; they will just raise fares and pocket the difference.
It must be executive bonus season at the airlines.
One analyst estimates that the airlines will collect $25 million PER DAY!!!! That might cover an executive bonus or two. They certainly won’t use it to hire customer service agents.
For 4 full years, most of the aviation community has been working hard to pass a reauthorization. Not so the airlines. They never lifted a finger, didn’t even sign any of the industry letters urging a bill. Maybe they figured this day would come, and they could collect that money.
At the same time, airlines have been fighting the idea that airports should be able to use a mechanism to fund infrastructure, a tool that is being used around the world to beat our brains in — namely a user fee or passenger facility charge. They said it would bring them to ruin somehow.
Even more, they went around and told congressmen and senators that if the PFC cap was raised they would remove service from communities around the country. Delta is especially adept at this, and it has an intimidating impact. Even though it was complete horse poop. Now, with Congress not contemplating raising the cap, Delta has announced it is removing service from 24 small communities. How do you spell loyalty? Certainly not a-i-r-l-i-n-e.
So, they do nothing to get a bill passed, nothing! When it expires they reach into passengers’ pockets to extract every cent they can; the idea of passing the savings along never seems to have occurred to them if you read their comments. And after BS’ing communities around the country with threats to pull service if the PFC was raised, they go ahead and pull the service anyway.
If you ever doubted for a moment that airlines have a view that the purpose of air transportation is to line their own pockets (forget all that moving people and goods stuff) these developments ought to disabuse you.