Carrier Objects To The "Hub-And-Spoke" System ATA Endorses
JetBlue Airways split from the Air Transport Association Friday
over the trade group's stance on financing the Federal Aviation
The ATA advocates taxing passengers based on the distance
between original and final destination, disregarding actual flight
miles on connecting flights.
JetBlue contends this is using a "hub-and-spoke" system and this
is beneficial only to the largest airlines, since they would avoid
paying taxes on potentially thousands of miles accumulated on those
"The ATA's formula ... penalizes JetBlue's low cost business
model that efficiently avoids hubs and relies primarily on nonstop,
point-to-point service," said letters sent Friday by JetBlue
President and Chief Executive Dave Barger to House and Senate
leaders, reported the Associated Press.
Currently, the passenger tax is based on a percentage of the
The plan the ATA proposes would also exempt airlines from paying
any taxes on the first 250 miles of any domestic flight. The group
says this is designed to help smaller communities -- which JetBlue
agrees would be a help. What it objects to is including shuttles
between New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. in that
"Similarly, all flights
between the large markets of Miami-Orlando, Dallas-Houston and Los
Angeles-Las Vegas, despite the burden they place on the busiest air
traffic control centers in the nation, would also be exempt from
paying the distance-based fee under the ATA's proposal," Barger
stated in his letter.
JetBlue said the ATA proposal will "mislead Congress into
legislating which airlines using the (air traffic control) system
pay their fair share and which airlines are provided statutory
The AP said the ATA declined comment Friday afternoon.
Congress has until September 30 to reauthorize the FAA.