Airlines to Be Asked to Pay Billions to Detect Bombs in Luggage

Chair of House aviation subcommittee will try to convince airline industry to pay additional $6 billion in aviation security fees

One way to raise money is for airports to issue bonds, but Hauptli does not believe all the airports that would benefit from in-line installation would do that. He decried the current state of affairs, "where rational sense is overtaken by arcane Washington budget rules." He also said the federal government treats airports like regulated parties rather than partners.

Airports contend the administration has asked for too much for certain programs and that the funds could be better spent on in-line EDS installation. They question the need for $280 million for TSA administrative and support personnel at airports. Instead, Congress could place a cap on the number of management and administrative workers to save money. Airports also question the administration's request for $142 million for regulatory compliance inspectors and other enforcement staff.

If Mica cannot bring the airlines into his corner, legislation to raise security fees for three years could be unpopular in Congress. For example, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), the co-chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, believes airlines are paying too many taxes and fees as it is. He is one of many lawmakers in the House and Senate who opposed the White House attempt to raise aviation security fees this year.

Security fees "should come down," Stevens told Airline Business Report. He would like to make existing funding levels stretch farther, and this would include getting everyday citizens to be an active part of security, much like during World War II. "There should be more volunteerism for the security concepts," he said. "Airline passengers should not pay totally for the burden because the terrorists used airplanes to commit that act in our country."