ASTA praised the House of Representatives for its unanimous passage of a bill (S. 1956) to prevent the European Union (EU) from imposing pollution control taxes on the U.S. aviation industry. The bill, which the Senate had also passed unanimously in September, now heads to President Obama’s desk for signature.
“Air travel is the cornerstone of the U.S. travel and tourism industry, and ‘selling air’ remains a significant contributor to the bottom lines of travel agents across the country,” said Nina Meyer, ASTA’s president and interim CEO.
“ASTA has long been concerned about proposals that would increase the already-significant tax burden on and cost of air travel, and thus welcomes Congress’ unanimous rejection of the EU’s ill-considered scheme," Meyer said.
Earlier this year, the EU announced that it would include the aviation industry in its “cap and trade” pollution control system, meaning it would apply to all flights arriving at or departing from EU airports, including U.S. airlines. While full implementation of the EU’s plan is being delayed until October 2013 at the earliest, it remains one of concern to U.S. aviation stakeholders.
ASTA cited Airlines for America's (A4A) estimated cost of the EU program to U.S.-based carriers to be more than $3.1 billion from now until 2020, enough to support more than 39,200 airline jobs. Senate bill 1956 would prohibit U.S. airlines from participating in the EU’s system so long as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation decides it is in the public interest.
ASTA noted it was an active member of a broad coalition of aviation stakeholders lobbying on behalf of this legislation, including A4A, the U.S. Travel Association, the Travel Technology Association, the Global Business Travel Association and others.