(Alexandria, VA) -- Despite billions in taxpayer aid, federal meddling in the aviation industry has booked many U.S. air carriers on a flight to fiscal ruin, according to the latest study from the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union (NTU). The citizen group's "policy paper" explores how government micromanagement exacerbates industry problems to the detriment of U.S. taxpayers and airlines.
"From the perspective of taxpayers, it is essential that Congress create an environment that allows airlines to take off or be grounded on their own merits in the closest thing possible to a free marketplace," said NTU Director of Government Affairs and study author Paul Gessing. According to the study, while deregulation in 1978 was a positive step toward reducing federal interference in the aviation marketplace, the limited scope of this model and the rise of security as a major new cost component has preserved and even extended the government's role. Among the highlights:
- Security Snafus -- A post-9/11 tax of up to $5.00 per one-way trip (and $10.00 for flights with layovers) was levied on airline passengers in order to fund screeners, equipment, and other costs for the notoriously inefficient and incompetent Transportation Security Administration. Unfortunately, yearly contributions of $300 million from the airlines and another $3 billion from the General Fund are also required. Private screeners are a proven better alternative.