Thursday, 28 July 2011 13:25
FAA Tax End Could Hurt New Orleans Armstrong Airport
Written by 

       The laws authorizing airline ticket taxes (and other aviation-related taxes like aviation fuel taxes and aviation freight taxes) expired at midnight on Friday, July 22, 2011.   The reason: Congress did not approve a budget for the Federal Aviation Administration that would have reauthorized the “sales taxes” that cost consumers on average $25.00 per airline ticket.

        That did not stop many airlines from charging roughly the same amount and pocketing the difference.   They followed the lead of Southwest Airlines, the major carrier locally, in keeping ticket prices the same, or in some cases increasing the price of their tickets above the previous level.

     “Do I think it was wise for them [to keep rates high] at this particular time.   No,” explained New Orleans Aviation Board member David Campbell in an interview with The Louisiana Weekly.   As one of the men who oversee Louis Armstrong International Airport, Campbell warned, “In the long run, it could be bad,” undermining confidence in the airline industry.

       Yet, Campbell also added, despite calls from some like US Senator John McCain for the airlines to reverse course, and lower prices, he also understands the carriers’ perspective. “That was a business decision that they made.   It’s all about bottom line. The airline business is a tough racket to make money in. There are only a few businesses that make money.   Southwest is an example,” and even the low budget airline is struggling in this recession.

     However, the ending of the tax could have potentially a detrimental impact of Louis Armstrong Airport.   “We in the midst of 400 projects to get done before the Superbowl in 2013. This could affect these projects,” he said.

     Thanks to the end of the fees, “The FAA has furloughed 4000 employees,” Campbell continued, explaining that the break in funding endangers the completion of 13 major construction efforts that are supposed to be finished prior to the Superbowl.

       “Some of the main projects are, we are just finishing up a $5 million bathroom project…Believe it or not, bathrooms are the number one thing they [travelers] look for.   We are doing a terminal refurbishment, and it’s going to look fresher.”

       Other projects include a $75 million for rental car pavilion where “you can walk right off the terminal and get your car”, “a beautification project on the interstate, all the way to Power” Blvd, and the expansion of concourse C, “adding some new gates”.

         That last project funded by the FAA funds is part of long term project where the airport is going ”to end up closing Concourses A and B. All traffic will go to where Concourse C and D in the future.”

         That end of the airport will be the nucleus of an expanded carrying capacity at Louis Armstrong International.   It is an acknowledgement, the Aviation Board member explained, that the New Orleans Airport is growing, unlike similar sized terminals.   “We are up about 8% over pre-Katrina levels over year to date.”

       “New Orleans has been bucking the trend,” he revealed.   Some of it is due to tourists that have chosen a domestic destination for financial reasons brought on by the Great Recession, he admitted, but also added,   “Some of our business travel has started to come back as well.”

      Moreover the future looks even brighter, said Campbell.   “Our tourism is up a bit…[and] the Superbowl is going to be a great thing.”

     The airlines have acknowledged the increased traveler interest.   “Southwest has been really good about bringing new routes in.”   While the airport has lost one of its two daily fights to Montreal Canada, it has made a major effort, according to Campbell, “to reopen the New Orleans to Latin America travel.”

         “New Orleans is more strategically located,” to be the hub for travel to Central and South America.   “We are closer than Miami or Dallas. At one time, we had command of that market, and for many, many reasons, we lost it. Now we are trying to get it back.”

         The real opportunity, in Campbell’s view, is the end of the Cuba Embargo, with the Communist Island once more becoming a tourist destination--and New Orleans serving as its gateway once more.   “We’ve filed in Washington to be one of the approved cities.   There are only four cities that will have flights when they are authorized.   It looks like sooner or later, it will happen. Initially, it will be charter flights [going to Cuba], but we’re hoping to open airline routes as soon as possible.” 

Christopher Tidmore is on the radio weekdays from 7-8 AM on 1560 AM, online at www.gtmorning.com

YOU CAN COMMENT ON THIS STORY BY USING OUR BAYOUBUZZ FACEBOOKFEATURES.  JUST LOG IN WITH THE BLUE FACEBOOK LOGIN ABOVE AND TO YOUR LEFT. WATCH THE MOVIE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Facebook Login

Bayoubuzz Newsletter - Sign Up Below


Forum

Also Click here and Join:

Louisiana Politics And Government

LouisianaPoliticsAnd Government
Join Bayoubuzz'sLouisianaPolitics and Government community is a social media site that is designed to help connect people, government and politics in Louisiana.

 

 

Login to post comments
  • A July 4th Fact of Facts: America is Land of Immigrants
  • Poll: Trump strong on jobs, weak on tweets, viewed as reckless, thin-skinned, sexist
  • President Trump, It doesn't feel like Independence Day
  • YIPPIE! The naked truth about free speech, cherished especially on Independence Day

mass2On July 4, 1778, George Washington doubled liquor rations for the soldiers quartered in Princeton, NJ, as a way to celebrate Independence Day. It’s fitting, therefore, that the Fourth of July is America's top-selling beer holiday, according to the Beer Institute. It estimated, in 2013, that sales of beer on the 4th could total $1 billion, doubtlessly higher today. “In moderation,” claims a CA brewery investor, Grover McKean, “beer is tasty and healthy.” Who could disagree?

Read More

joe mikaAs Donald Trump faces the top world leaders this week, including a face-time with Vladimir Putin, and as his healthcare proposals face an uphill climb, his poll numbers for how the nation views him could be better.

According to a morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday morning, his tweets, including that against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski, and his personality are not helping him, at all.

Read More

indy dayII know the calendar says we are approaching the 4th of July, but, it just doesn’t feel like Independence Day.

Perhaps it should.  It’s hot as heck.  The airlines have been packed. The hot dogs are ready for grilling.  The umps are saying, "play ball". The patriotic activities are scheduled. The fireworks are ready-for-blasting. 

Yet, it just doesn’t feel like independence day.

Read More

bill rights2To President Thomas Jefferson, July 4th celebrated more than the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He thought it was a link to the future. The message prominent colonists sent to King George III led to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the initial and most prominent feature of which is the First Amendment that guarantees free speech. It’s part of the country’s fundamental essence that each man and woman can say what they feel about government, or anything else, proving President Donald Trump needs some civics lessons.

Read More

latter-blum2

Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1