While current HR 915 and S 1451 legislation has many impacts for airports and airport operations, none of the legislation would effect airports with such a dramatic change as the direct increase in the amount of passenger facility charges an airport is allowed to collect. Currently, Title 49, US Code section 40117, authorizes the Secretary of Transportation (further delegated to the Federal Aviation Administration Administrator) to approve the local imposition of an airport passenger facility charge (PFC) of up to $4. 0 per enplaned passenger for use on certain airport projects.
The federal legislation allows airports to use PFC funds to meet money match requirements of federal grants for aviation related capital improvement. The revenue is collected by air carriers on behalf of a public agency, and subsequently remitted to the airport. Expenditures of PFC funds must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. The PFC regulation was adopted on May 22, 1991, and was substantially amended on May 30, 2000.
The regulation is intended to provide public agencies with the flexibility to tailor their PFC programs to their own needs while meeting the requirements of the statute. In addition, it is intended to reduce the administrative burden as much as possible for public agencies and air carriers. As of September 2009, there are 378 commercial airports collecting PFCs including 97 of the top 100 airports. Of these 378 airports collecting PFC charges, 312 (255 small hub, non-hub, and commercial service airports and 57 medium and large hub airports) are collecting the maximum $4. 50 PFC charge.
In addition, there are 1,748 applications approved or partially approved with only 3 applications denied; Naples Municipal whose eight year three month collection of $3 per enplanement ended in May 2004, St. Augustine Airport in St. Augustine, FL who was never granted the ability to collect PFCs, and Robert Mueller Municipal whose one year and three month PFC collection was ended in 1995. As of 2009 only . 0017 percent of applications have not been approved or partially approved. The current house and senate bills would increase the allowable amount of an airports PFC by 60% to $7. 50.
This increase would lead to an estimated fiscal year 2012 allowable PFC budget to over 4. 9 billion dollars, almost double the current 2. 6 billion. This increase in PFC charges is likely intended to offset the drastic costs of implementing the governments NextGen program which is set to receive funding through HR 519 through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). A PFC increase would ease the burden of money matching federal funds for local governments, however the increase of a maximum $30 per round trip would add another tax atop the current bevy of taxes facing airline passengers.