A fee for landing at airports in the state of Massachusetts—with the stated intent to “mitigate climate change”—has been diverted in wake of negative response from a range of constituents, the Massachusetts Airport Management Association (MAMA) announced on Wednesday.
“The coordinated efforts of aviation organizations” and “dozens of comments filed by Massachusetts airports and individuals” drove the action, according to the association.
“We are pleased to see that this ill-conceived bill, which would have been devastating to Massachusetts’ airports, will not move forward in the Massachusetts legislature,” said Tom Hurley, MAMA’s executive director. “Rather, we would urge lawmakers and state and federal regulators to adequately fund our statewide airports to assure safety, economic and educational development and prepare for the new, sustainable technologies that are just around the corner.”
The fee—which would charge no less than $1,000 per landing—was proposed through a bill presented by Massachusetts state senator Julian Cyr “to mitigate the climate impact of private and corporate air travel.”
The bill would have earmarked 50 percent of the revenue from the new fee into “a fund that would help repair and improve state infrastructure that has been damaged or affected by climate change,” as reported in the MV Times. The remainder would be kept by the airport for its own operations.
However, its diversion of airport revenue into non-aviation infrastructure purposes set it up for failure, as that runs contrary to the mandate to use any monies derived from airport use into aviation programs.
Opponents of the fee also contend that it would have a withering economic effect on pilots and other airport users as well as the airports themselves.
An update to the bill sought to impose the fee only on private or corporate aircraft based outside of Massachusetts—but this would also have a significant impact on tourism and business aviation conducted into the state.
“This proposal was a disaster from the start,” said Sean Collins, eastern regional manager for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which sent out a notification to its 5,000 members in the state to respond to the bill.