Published on : Saturday, January 4, 2014
On December 12, by a vote of 332 to 94, the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J.Res. 59), which sets the overall discretionary spending for Fiscal Year 2014 and provides $63 billion worth of relief from the across-the-board budget cuts known as “sequestration.” The Senate passed the legislation on December 18 by a vote of 64 to 36, and President Obama signed it into law on December 26.
Among the provisions of H.J.Res. 59 is one to increase the September 11 Security Fee, which is imposed on passengers of domestic and foreign air carriers for air transportation that originates at airports in the United States. Currently the fee is a per-enplanement charge of $2.50 per enplanement with a maximum one-way trip fee of $5.00 (a passenger taking a non-stop flight pays a total of $2.50, while a passenger with at least one connecting flight pays $5.00). The fees help to fund the operations of the Transportation Security Administration.
H.J.Res. 59 simplifies the fee structure to a flat, $5.60 fee per one-way trip, regardless of the number of enplanements, effective July 1, 2014. The increase is less of a burden on passengers with connecting flights – a passenger on a one-way flight that includes a connection will see only a 60 cent increase in each direction. Passengers flying non-stop, however, will pay $3.10 more each way than they currently are assessed.
Effective July 1, 2014, the airlines will be required to file fares in the GDSs that include the increased September 11 fee. So, if your customers want to save $6.20 on a roundtrip non-stop ticket or $1.20 on a roundtrip connection ticket, they will need to buy it on or before June 30. In addition, once the new fees are effective, travel agents processing exchanges of tickets issued before July 1, 2014 will need to be certain they collect the higher September 11 fee amount on the new ticket.
While the operational impact will be minimal, ASTA remains concerned about the trend toward increasing the already-significant tax burden on air transportation in ways that risk hurting both the U.S. travel industry and the consumers who rely on it. For detailed discussion, see ASTA’s 2012 op-ed article on the subject, entitled “Short-Term Fix, Long-Term Damage.”
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