Massport extending fee for fliers
Surcharge covers work on runways, terminals
The Massachusetts Port Authority yesterday extended by six years a $4.50 fee on passengers to help pay for improvements to runways and terminals at Logan International Airport.
The passenger fee, which has been in place since 1993, will be extended into 2024 to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades at the airport. Massport already had approval to levy the fee through 2018, officials said.
Money raised from the fee will pay for rehabilitation of several runways, upgrades to terminals, and construction of an expanded safety area to protect airplanes landing on runway 33L, which must be extended to comply with federal regulations.
"This is the right thing to do from a safety standpoint," Massport chief executive Thomas Kinton said. "This will make us whole as far as having all of our runways in compliance."
The improvements to 33L, which was the site of the 1982 World Airways crash that killed two people, will include construction of a 600-foot pier into Boston Harbor. The project is estimated to cost $72 million and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.
Unlike the fees airlines have been charging passengers for everything from checked luggage to earphones, the extension of the passenger fee must still be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA allows airports to charge passenger fees to pay for safety and security enhancements. In 2005, federal officials approved an increase in the fee airports can charge to $4.50 from $3.
Massport officials said the fee is levied specifically to pay for airfield and terminal upgrades; it does not pay for salaries and other operating expenses.
Massport directors also approved fee increases on airlines to pay for landing operations and baggage screening.
The baggage screening fee will be increased to $1.38 from $1.26, and the landing fee, which is based on weight, will rise to $4.82 per 1,000 pounds from $4.56. Those increases will take effect April 1.
Officials said the fees will not be passed on to travelers.
Casey Ross can be reached at email@example.com.