Improving Airport Funding to Meet the Needs of Passengers

In the United States, a variety of taxes and fees on passenger air tickets help fund airport infrastructure. The major federal taxes on passenger air travel raised $12.05 billion for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund in 2013. This trust fund allows the Federal Aviation Administration to fund infrastructure through the Airport Improvement Program. Reliance on Airport Improvement Program spending is cumbersome and inefficient for airports that could be paying for the costs of their own improvements. The Passenger Facility Charge, an optional fee levied by and remitted to airports, also funds airport infrastructure. It has been capped at a maximum value of $4.50 per trip for fifteen years, and it has lost much of its value to inflation. The Passenger Facility Charge is the most market-based solution for airport funding, reducing reliance on federal taxes and allowing local communities to make informed cost-benefit analyses.

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