Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Mark Begich (D-Alaska), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) introduced an amendment that would exempt Hawaii and Alaska from the increase in air travel fees included in the budget deal. This exemption would protect interisland flights from increased air travel fees, which would more than double from $2.50 to $5.60 in the budget compromise bill the Senate will vote on this week.
"The budget deal makes tough choices, working to balance critical investments that grow our economy, ease the pain of the sequester and preserve our promises to seniors," said Hirono. "However, raising air travel fees ignores the economic hardship for those in non-contiguous states. In Hawaii, residents rely on air travel to receive healthcare, connect with family and friends and conduct business. That's why I've introduced this amendment with my colleagues from Hawaii and Alaska, as air transportation is a necessity for our constituents."
"Flying isn't just a luxury for Alaskans -- it's a necessity for things like work and medical care. With over 30,000 people living off the road system, doubling air travel security fees for some flights in my state would create an unnecessary strain for traveling Alaskans," said Begich. "This fix is important so the people in my state affected by these security fee increases are not unfairly burdened."
"We in Hawaii are in a different situation than those on the mainland and we often are dependent on air travel for business, health care, or to visit family. Recognizing the unique position of both Hawaii and Alaska, and exempting us from increased air fees is not only fair, it is commonsense," said Schatz.