Murkowski Works to Protect Alaskans from Flight Fee Hikes

Senator Introduces Bipartisan Bill Against Disproportionate Costs to AK, HI

Senator Lisa Murkowski today announced she has joined Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) to introduce legislation to exempt Hawaii, Alaska, and communities that rely on essential air service from a costly increase in air travel fees. The legislation would protect intrastate flights in Alaska and interisland flights in Hawaii from increased air travel fees, which have more than doubled from $2.50 to $5.60 per enplanement.

“The aviation fee hike has a disproportionate impact on Alaskans and Hawaii residents who often don’t have a straight-shot option in getting from Point A to Point B like those in the Lower 48,” said Senator Murkowski. “When you’re an Alaskan trying to travel between a hub and locations off the road system, logistics means that we need multiple legs on different airlines to get to your destination.  Worse still, the Alaskans that would be hit by this added cost are frequently being compelled to travel for health reasons.  Alaskans already deal with higher costs for energy and goods – enough is enough.”

Both Alaska and Hawaii have unique geographical complexities that make air travel exceptionally important. In Alaska, 80 percent of communities are off the road system and air travel is often the most efficient way to travel between communities, especially in remote areas. Similarly, in Hawaii, no railway, trucking, or bus systems connect it to other states or the islands themselves, so air transportation serves as Hawaii’s primary interstate and intrastate highway system. In the past, Congress has recognized the unique need for air travel in the non-contiguous states and provided relief from air travel fees. Last year, Senators Hirono, Murkowski, and Schatz introduced the same bill to exempt Hawaii and Alaska from the increase in air travel fees – and while the bill did not pass, it did start a movement within the federal government to begin adding protections for flyers from such cost increases.