Thursday, November 27, 2014 · 8:20 p.m.

Obama budget plan would increase fees for airlines, passengers

Local spokeswoman said adequate funding for airports needed

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President Barack Obama's budget proposal would impact airlines and passengers. (Photo: Contributed)

President Barack Obama's budget proposal would impact airlines, airports and passengers—increasing customer fees and decreasing grants for large airports—in an effort to reduce the national deficit.

A spokeswoman for Chattanooga's airport said sufficient funding of airports is essential. 

Because the proposal is so preliminary, she couldn't provide extensive comment, she said. 

“It is critical that any approved budget consider the impact of aviation on the global economy, as well as thousands of small and midsized communities across the country, and ensure adequate funding to support the growing demand,” spokeswoman for the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Christina Siebold said in an email.

According to Reuters, Obama’s proposal would have airlines and passengers pay up to $32 million in new fees over a 10-year period.

The goal is to switch the burden from taxpayers to the carriers, passengers and airports, Reuters reported.

Members of aviation advocacy groups, such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots, oppose this proposal, according to AV Web, an aviation news source.

According to AV Web, the plan also includes a $100 per flight fee for some general aviation aircraft.

"In nations where user fees have been introduced, the fees have grown. However, in the bigger election-year picture, the proposal may not get far, anyway,” Craig Fuller, Aircraft Owners and Pilots president, said, according to AV Web.

The president’s proposal would also mean that ticket fees, which help pay for passenger and bag security screening, would double to a mandatory minimum of $5 per one-way trip.

That fee would increase by 50 cents per year starting in 2014, Reuters reported.

By 2018, the fee would be $7.50.

Administration leaders want the changes to create between $9 billion and $25.5 billion in new revenue in the next 10 years, according to Reuters.

Siebold said it is currently very early in the budget process, and leaders have months of discussion ahead of them.

Adequate funding is important to the local and national economy, she said.

“The nation’s air transportation system contributes to economic development across the globe and right here in Chattanooga by ensuring that goods and services from our hometown can be bought and sold in markets around the world and that international markets have access into our city,” she said.

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