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Airlines protest Trump budget proposal to raise passenger fees

By HUGO MARTIN
Los Angeles Times

February 19. 2018 9:04PM




A little over a year into the Trump administration, the U.S. airline industry has mixed feelings about the businessman-turned-President.

Three of the country's biggest airlines — United, Delta and American — and their labor unions praised Trump last month for making a deal to get Qatar Airlines to restrict its flights to the U.S. and provide more financial information.

The deal came after years of complaints that accused Qatar, Etihad and Emirates airlines of competing unfairly with U.S. airlines by accepting subsidies from their oil-rich government owners.

"We are grateful to the Trump administration for working to restore a level playing field for the U.S. aviation industry," Delta CEO Ed Bastain said about the deal.

But now, a trade group that represents those same U.S. airlines is protesting a proposal from the Trump administration to raise fees on airline tickets to collect nearly $3 billion.

The Trump budget would raise the passenger security fee charged to all flyers by $1 per one-way trip next year and $1.65 in 2020, raising the total fee in 2020 to $8.25 per one-way ticket.

The proposal calls for a nearly $2 increase to two separate fees charged by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on travelers entering the country via boat or airplane.

"Increasing taxes in any form will add to the cost of flying for millions of Americans, curtail job growth and limit the options small and medium communities currently enjoy," said Nicholas Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, the trade group for the country airlines.


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