Air Transport World

Infrastructure costs more than you think.(Waypoints)(airline fares)

Infrastructure and security costs represent the third-highest operating expense category for US airlines after fuel and labor, according to a new study that put the cost at nearly $23 billion in 2004, or 15% of operating expense for that year. Of that amount, $14 billion, or 63% of total infrastructure expense, was paid through taxes and user fees.

The study, by Profs. Joakim Karlsson of Daniel Webster College and Amedeo Odoni of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, combined fees and taxes spent for airport access, air traffic management services and security as well as federal taxes on passenger tickets and airfreight waybills to arrive at the 15% figure. Infrastructure charges have remained high in 2008, so the basic results remain valid even as fuel costs have soared to become the biggest cost item. …

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