A New Controversy Reminds that there is Need for Dialogue within Aviation; Secretary Foxx Might Send out Invitations

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ARTICLE: AAAE Calls for Congress to End Ancillary Fee Loophole, Eliminate Airport AMT Penalty

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The need for – and the contents of – a national aviation policy have been discussed here. The attached press release from the American Association of Airport Executives highlights the disparate views of the segments of aviation.

AAAE represents the views of airports around the country and the association advocates positions which advance the financial basis for spending on their infrastructure. Todd Hauptli asserts that the airlines have “sheltered” potential tax revenue by labeling some of their charges as “ancillary” fees. A4A clearly would regard this position as blasphemous; the airlines believe that the taxes – not the ancillary fees – deter passengers from buying their product.

It is a constant refrain of all of the Washington aviation trade that they are frustrated and concerned with the lack of legislative action on NextGen. Even casual observers of Capitol Hill know that the House and Senate are most uncomfortable with making major policy determinations about an industry when the segments of that business have no consensus.

Differences over ancillary revenues separate airports and airlines; A4A and the GA community have opposing views about user fees; even elements of NextGen cause controversy within aviation; unions and management will argue about work rules. Historic compromises have occurred in the past. Dialogue among the leaders may result in the identification of trades between and among these groups which might result in a consensus.

Perhaps the new Secretary of Transportation, who does not have a record suggesting favoring any particular segment, might begin a dialogue to search for a point of equipoise among these groups.

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