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TSA Asks Court to Dismiss Complaint Against Fees

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The TSA issued a response to a petition from airline industry trade groups claiming that new aviation security fee hikes are not valid and threaten the industry.

Airline industry trade groups Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have no claim against new fees being charged by the Department of Homeland Security, according to government lawyers.

In July, the airlines filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit over TSA security fee hikes which were approved by Congress last year and went into effect that same month. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 effectively removed any caps on the fees that had previously been in place.

Paul Clement, a former solicitor general representing the airlines, told USA Today that TSA “flouted the plain language and express purpose [of the law].”

In an October 27 story in USA Today, Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce Branda, speaking on behalf of the Justice Department, said “the airlines haven’t shown how they would be harmed and the court should dismiss the case.”

“The economic impact of the challenged regulation falls principally on the traveling public, not the petitioners’ air carrier members,” Branda wrote in a statement. “But while the regulation may modestly increase the cost of a ticket, petitioners do not claim that they are injured by a hypothetical, resulting decrease in consumer demand for air travel.”

The airlines also contest the fees being charged for flights originating overseas. However, TSA says aviation fees have been applied to flights arriving in the U.S. from foreign airports in the past, USA Today stated. They also expressed concern that a portion of the fees is earmarked to help reduce the federal deficit, a post on Forbes.com reported.

“Our government must stop using airlines and their passengers as its own personal ATM whenever it needs more money,” A4A spokesperson Vaughn Jennings told Forbes.

No hearing date has been set.

[Photo: iStock]

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3 Comments
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starflyer November 4, 2014

If this is true, how do I claim the portion of the TSA fee that goes to reduce the national debt on my income tax forms? The airlines shouldn't be allowed to collect non-airline related taxes and fees. I'm going to boycott any airline that goes along with this scheme. I will drive or take the train, or fly an airline that doesn't collect money from me only to give it to turn around and give it to charity.

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DirtyDan November 3, 2014

Good point SFO-DEN-ISN. But unlike all the 90s children... that Idea was left behind.

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SFO-DEN-ISN November 1, 2014

Invest in infrastructure not stupidity.