Aviation Industry Coalition Sends Unified Message to Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 27, 2011 - A united aviation industry coalition of nearly 30 organizations, which includes the Aircraft Electronics Association, is opposing proposed tax increases, which would lead to significant job loss across all sectors of the industry and the nation.

As part of its debt-reduction plan, the White House is proposing - and the Congressional Super Committee is now considering - two new initiatives on airlines and their passengers and general aviation. The first would add a new $100 departure tax - disguised as a fee - to all flights, and the second would double the existing passenger security tax to $5 per one-way trip in 2012, and triple the tax to $7.50 by 2017. The coalition of airlines, general aviation, manufacturers, consumer organizations and labor groups is sending a unified message to Congress to reject the proposed taxes.

"While the AEA applauds the administration for including funding of $1 billion to support NextGen Air Traffic Modernization efforts in its plan, it is discouraging to see another stab at a user fee scheme being pushed on our already fragile industry," said AEA President Paula Derks.

"U.S. airlines, general aviation and aviation manufacturing companies and their respective employees face intense competition from the rest of the world," said Air Transport Association of America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. "Our policymakers should be focused on increasing U.S. international competitiveness rather than viewing the industry as a collection agency. If we are to maintain global leadership and increase jobs in this country, we need to ensure that tax policy is focused on strengthening U.S. aviation leadership and furthering the safety and modernization of the aviation system."

A growing bipartisan group within Congress opposes the administration's burdensome tax proposal. Nearly 120 members of the House of Representatives recently told Congressional leadership that the $100 departure fee would have a "devastating impact on the aviation industry and fails to achieve our shared goal of improving the economy and creating jobs. The fee would cost airlines an estimated $1 billion a year."

The letter also cites the devastating effect that the $100 per flight fee will have on general aviation: "Imposing such a fee would stifle the industry, as has been the case in other countries where user fees have been put in place. General aviation is an important contributor to our economy with 1.3 million jobs and $150 billion in economic activity every year."

Also this month, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) told leaders of Congress' appropriation panels that increasing the passenger security tax would hurt the industry at a crucial time for the economy. "If Congress were to increase the fee at this time, we would be hurting a vital sector of the global economy," King wrote.

On behalf of the coalition, Calio commended lawmakers who are rejecting the administration's tax plan. "We have been meeting with members of Congress to convince them that further taxes on airlines and their passengers should be rejected," Calio said.

To increase awareness and educate consumers and Congress, a new website has recently been launched at www.stopairtaxnow.com, where visitors can urge Congress to reject punitive taxes on airline passengers and, at the same time, save American jobs and air service to their communities.

The AEA encourages its members to visit the website and voice their concerns to members of Congress.

The aviation industry coalition includes the following organizations:

Aerospace Industries Association
Aerospace States Association
Air Carrier Association of America
Air Line Pilots Association
Air Traffic Control Association
Air Transport Association
Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Association of Flight Attendants
Cargo Airline Association
Consumer Travel Alliance
Experimental Aircraft Association
General Aviation Airport Coalition
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Global Business Travel Association
Helicopter Association International
Interactive Travel Services Association
International Air Transport Association
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
National Agricultural Aviation Association
National Air Carrier Association
National Air Transportation Association
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
National Association of State Aviation Officials
National Business Aviation Association
Recreational Aviation Foundation
Regional Airline Association
Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO


– 30 –

Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents nearly 1,300 member companies in more than 40 countries, including approved maintenance organizations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of aircraft electronics systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of aircraft electronics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.