For immediate release
May 13, 2015
In a letter to House and Senate leadership released today, UNITE HERE President D. Taylor urged members of Congress to reduce a federal restriction that limits America’s airports ability to reduce increasing flight delays. UNITE HERE represents 270,000 employees in North America, including tens of thousands of airport and hospitality staff.
“You can vote to help airports reduce flight congestion that threatens to make Thanksgiving-day travel conditions the norm. You can do it without using any taxpayer dollars. You can do it without adding any restrictions on local governments. In fact, all you have to do is vote to stop the federal government from infringing on a local program that has proven it works,” said Taylor. “You might call it the Passenger Facility Charge; I just think of it as a program that gives airports a fighting chance to get flights out on time.”
The percentage of flights delayed or cancelled has gone up 88 percent collectively at United, American and Delta, when 2014 is compared to 2012. Now, airports are trying to increase revenue to make improvements, but airlines are trying to stand in the way.
Every airline ticket includes money to make airports run more efficiently and help fund new terminal facilities, new runways and other airport improvements. Right now, the federal government does not let airports set the Passenger Facility Charge on their own. Instead, the federal government puts a cap on it, and that cap has not gone up since 2000. Airports are trying to get permission to increase it to keep up with travel demand – to avoid Thanksgiving-like travel every day – but airlines and their team of lobbyists are trying to stop them.
“Lifting or increasing the federal PFC cap helps local airports help themselves, how they see fit. It reduces an unwanted federal restriction on their ability to react to the market – and to get their flights out on time,” said Taylor. “Unfortunately, the airlines are trying to stand in the way of those benefits, even while they are posting profits projected at over $25 billion for 2015.”
Read President Taylor’s op-ed in The Hill here.