Airlines for America seeks return of diverted TSA fees

Airlines for America (A4A) has called on Congress to return USD13 billion in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) fees that have been diverted since 2013 to offset the deficit and use those resources to pay for security screening as intended, the company said.

A4A also called on the TSA to take actions to improve airport wait times, in addition to the work its members already have underway, and responded to calls to adjust airline pricing.

In a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio noted that pursuant to the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2013, Congress diverted USD13 billion of passenger 9/11 fee revenue over 10 years to pay for deficit reduction.

A4A said the root problem with the excessive security lines is a failure to align TSA staff and equipment with the latest passenger volumes by location, and in fact, more of TSA´s budget is going toward non-aviation related functions. TSA has advance access to passenger flight data to make adjustments to staffing as volumes fluctuate by location, and A4A urged the agency to use this information to ensure that staffing and equipment is sent to airports where they are needed most.

TSA´s aviation security budget grew seven percent from 2006 to 2015, yet the number of passengers screened has declined five percent during the same time period, suggesting resources are not currently allocated where needed.

Annually, commercial aviation helps drive nearly USD1.5 trillion in US economic activity and more than 11 million US jobs. Airlines for America (A4A) vigorously advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation´s economy and global competitiveness.