United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 25, 2024

§ 40117.
Passenger facility charges
(a)
Definitions.—
In this section, the following definitions apply:
(1)
Airport, commercial service airport, and public agency.—
The terms “airport”, “commercial service airport”, and “public agency” have the meaning those terms have under section 47102.
(2)
Eligible agency.—
The term “eligible agency” means a public agency that controls a commercial service airport.
(3)
Eligible airport-related project.—
The term “eligible airport-related project” means any of the following projects:
(A)
A project for airport development or airport planning under subchapter I of chapter 471.
(B)
A project for terminal development described in section 47119(a).
(C)
A project for costs of terminal development referred to in subparagraph (B) incurred after August 1, 1986, at an airport that did not have more than .25 percent of the total annual passenger boardings in the United States in the most recent calendar year for which data is available and at which total passenger boardings declined by at least 16 percent between calendar year 1989 and calendar year 1997.
(D)
A project for airport noise capability planning under section 47505.
(E)
A project to carry out noise compatibility measures eligible for assistance under section 47504, whether or not a program for those measures has been approved under section 47504.
(F)
A project for constructing gates and related areas at which passengers board or exit aircraft. In the case of a project required to enable additional air service by an air carrier with less than 50 percent of the annual passenger boardings at an airport, the project for constructing gates and related areas may include structural foundations and floor systems, exterior building walls and load-bearing interior columns or walls, windows, door and roof systems, building utilities (including heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical service), and aircraft fueling facilities adjacent to the gate.
(G)
A project for converting vehicles and ground support equipment used at a commercial service airport to low-emission technology (as defined in section 47102) or to use cleaner burning conventional fuels, retrofitting of any such vehicles or equipment that are powered by a diesel or gasoline engine with emission control technologies certified or verified by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions, or acquiring for use at a commercial service airport vehicles and ground support equipment that include low-emission technology or use cleaner burning fuels if the airport is located in an air quality nonattainment area (as defined in section 171(2) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7501(2))) or a maintenance area referred to in section 175A of such Act (42 U.S.C. 7505a) and if such project will result in an airport receiving appropriate emission credits as described in section 47139.
(H)
A project at a small hub airport for a noise barrier where the day–night average sound level from commercial, general aviation, or cargo operations is expected to exceed 55 decibels as a result of new airport development.
(I)
A project for the replacement of existing workspace elements (including any associated in-kind facility or equipment within or immediately adjacent to a terminal development or renovation project at such airport) related to the relocation of a Federal agency on airport grounds due to such terminal development or renovation project for which development costs are eligible costs under this section.
(4)
Ground support equipment.—
The term “ground support equipment” means service and maintenance equipment used at an airport to support aeronautical operations and related activities.
(5)
Passenger facility charge.—
The term “passenger facility charge” means a charge imposed under this section.
(6)
Passenger facility revenue.—
The term “passenger facility revenue” means revenue derived from a passenger facility charge.
(b)
General Authority.—
(1)
Except as provided under subsection (l), the Secretary of Transportation may authorize under this section an eligible agency to impose a passenger facility charge of $1, $2, $3, $4, or $4.50 on each paying passenger of an air carrier or foreign air carrier boarding an aircraft at an airport the agency controls to finance an eligible airport-related project, including making payments for debt service on indebtedness incurred to carry out the project, to be carried out in connection with the airport or any other airport the agency controls.
(2)
A State, political subdivision of a State, or authority of a State or political subdivision that is not the eligible agency may not regulate or prohibit the imposition or collection of a passenger facility charge or the use of the passenger facility revenue.
(3)
A passenger facility charge may be imposed on a passenger of an air carrier or foreign air carrier originating or connecting at the commercial service airport that the agency controls.
(4)
Maximum cost for certain low-emission technology projects.—
The maximum cost that may be financed by imposition of a passenger facility charge under this section for a project described in subsection (a)(3)(G) with respect to a vehicle or ground support equipment may not exceed the incremental amount of the project cost that is greater than the cost of acquiring a vehicle or equipment that is not low-emission and would be used for the same purpose, or the cost of low-emission retrofitting, as determined by the Secretary.
(5)
Debt service for certain projects.—
In addition to the uses specified in paragraph (1), the Secretary may authorize a passenger facility charge imposed under paragraph (1) to be used for making payments for debt service on indebtedness incurred to carry out at the airport a project that is not an eligible airport-related project if the Secretary determines that such use is necessary due to the financial need of the airport.
(6)
Noise mitigation for certain schools.—
(A)
In general.—
In addition to the uses specified in paragraphs (1) and (5), the Secretary may authorize a passenger facility charge imposed under paragraph (1) at a large hub airport that is the subject of an amended judgment and final order in condemnation filed on January 7, 1980, by the Superior Court of the State of California for the county of Los Angeles, to be used for a project to carry out noise mitigation for a building, or for the replacement of a relocatable building with a permanent building, in the noise impacted area surrounding the airport at which such building is used primarily for educational purposes, notwithstanding the air easement granted or any terms to the contrary in such judgment and final order, if—
(i)
the Secretary determines that the building is adversely affected by airport noise;
(ii)
the building is owned or chartered by the school district that was the plaintiff in case number 986,442 or 986,446, which was resolved by such judgment and final order;
(iii)
the project is for a school identified in 1 of the settlement agreements effective February 16, 2005, between the airport and each of the school districts;
(iv)
in the case of a project to replace a relocatable building with a permanent building, the eligible project costs are limited to the actual structural construction costs necessary to mitigate aircraft noise in instructional classrooms to an interior noise level meeting current standards of the Federal Aviation Administration; and
(v)
the project otherwise meets the requirements of this section for authorization of a passenger facility charge.
(B)
Eligible project costs.—
In subparagraph (A)(iv), the term “eligible project costs” means the difference between the cost of standard school construction and the cost of construction necessary to mitigate classroom noise to the standards of the Federal Aviation Administration.
(c)
Applications.—
(1)
An eligible agency must submit to the Secretary an application for authority to impose a passenger facility charge. The application shall contain information and be in the form that the Secretary may require by regulation.
(2)
Before submitting an application, the eligible agency must provide reasonable notice to, and an opportunity for consultation with, air carriers and foreign air carriers operating at the airport. The Secretary shall prescribe regulations that define reasonable notice and contain at least the following requirements:
(A)
The agency must provide written notice of individual projects being considered for financing by a passenger facility charge and the date and location of a meeting to present the projects to air carriers and foreign air carriers operating at the airport.
(B)
Not later than 30 days after written notice is provided under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, each air carrier and foreign air carrier operating at the airport must provide to the agency written notice of receipt of the notice. Failure of a carrier to provide the notice may be deemed certification of agreement with the project by the carrier under subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.
(C)
Not later than 45 days after written notice is provided under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the agency must conduct a meeting to provide air carriers and foreign air carriers with descriptions of projects and justifications and a detailed financial plan for projects.
(D)
Not later than 30 days after the meeting, each air carrier and foreign air carrier must provide to the agency certification of agreement or disagreement with projects (or total plan for the projects). Failure to provide the certification is deemed certification of agreement with the project by the carrier. A certification of disagreement is void if it does not contain the reasons for the disagreement.
(E)
The agency must include in its application or notice submitted under subparagraph (A) copies of all certifications of agreement or disagreement received under subparagraph (D).
(F)
For the purpose of this section, an eligible agency providing notice and an opportunity for consultation to an air carrier or foreign air carrier is deemed to have satisfied the requirements of this paragraph if the eligible agency limits such notices and consultations to air carriers and foreign air carriers that have a significant business interest at the airport. In the subparagraph, the term “significant business interest” means an air carrier or foreign air carrier that had no less than 1.0 percent of passenger boardings at the airport in the prior calendar year, had at least 25,000 passenger boardings at the airport in the prior calendar year, or provides scheduled service at the airport.
(3)
Before submitting an application, the eligible agency must provide reasonable notice and an opportunity for public comment. The Secretary shall prescribe regulations that define reasonable notice and provide for at least the following under this paragraph:
(A)
A requirement that the eligible agency provide public notice of intent to collect a passenger facility charge so as to inform those interested persons and agencies that may be affected. The public notice may include—
(i)
publication in local newspapers of general circulation;
(ii)
publication in other local media; and
(iii)
posting the notice on the agency’s Internet website.
(B)
A requirement for submission of public comments no sooner than 30 days, and no later than 45 days, after the date of the publication of the notice.
(C)
A requirement that the agency include in its application or notice submitted under subparagraph (A) copies of all comments received under subparagraph (B).
(4)
After receiving an application, the Secretary may provide notice and an opportunity to air carriers, foreign air carriers, and other interested persons to comment on the application. The Secretary shall make a final decision on the application not later than 120 days after receiving it.
(d)
Limitations on Approving Applications.—
The Secretary may approve an application that an eligible agency has submitted under subsection (c) of this section to finance a specific project only if the Secretary finds, based on the application, that—
(1)
the amount and duration of the proposed passenger facility charge will result in revenue (including interest and other returns on the revenue) that is not more than the amount necessary to finance the specific project;
(2)
each project is an eligible airport-related project that will—
(A)
preserve or enhance capacity, safety, or security of the national air transportation system;
(B)
reduce noise resulting from an airport that is part of the system; or
(C)
provide an opportunity for enhanced competition between or among air carriers and foreign air carriers;
(3)
the application includes adequate justification for each of the specific projects; and
(4)
in the case of an application to impose a charge of more than $3.00 for an eligible surface transportation or terminal project, the agency has made adequate provision for financing the airside needs of the airport, including runways, taxiways, aprons, and aircraft gates.
(e)
Limitations on Imposing Charges.—
(1)
An eligible agency may impose a passenger facility charge only—
(A)
if the Secretary approves an application that the agency has submitted under subsection (c) of this section or a passenger facility charge imposition is authorized under subsection (l); and
(B)
subject to reasonable terms the Secretary may prescribe to carry out the objectives of this section.
(2)
A passenger facility charge may not be collected from a passenger—
(A)
for more than 2 boardings on a one-way trip or a trip in each direction of a round trip;
(B)
for the boarding to an eligible place under subchapter II of chapter 417 of this title for which essential air service compensation is paid under subchapter II;
(C)
enplaning at an airport if the passenger did not pay for the air transportation which resulted in such enplanement, including any case in which the passenger obtained the ticket for the air transportation with a frequent flier award coupon without monetary payment;
(D)
on flights, including flight segments, between 2 or more points in Hawaii;
(E)
in Alaska aboard an aircraft having a seating capacity of less than 60 passengers; and
(F)
enplaning at an airport if the passenger did not pay for the air transportation which resulted in such enplanement due to charter arrangements and payment by the Department of Defense.
(f)
Limitations on Contracts, Leases, and Use Agreements.—
(1)
A contract between an air carrier or foreign air carrier and an eligible agency made at any time may not impair the authority of the agency to impose a passenger facility charge or to use the passenger facility revenue as provided in this section.
(2)
A project financed with a passenger facility charge may not be subject to an exclusive long-term lease or use agreement of an air carrier or foreign air carrier, as defined by regulations of the Secretary.
(3)
A lease or use agreement of an air carrier or foreign air carrier related to a project whose construction or expansion was financed with a passenger facility charge may not restrict the eligible agency from financing, developing, or assigning new capacity at the airport with passenger facility revenue.
(g)
Treatment of Revenue.—
(1)
Passenger facility revenue is not airport revenue for purposes of establishing a price under a contract between an eligible agency and an air carrier or foreign air carrier.
(2)
An eligible agency may not include in its price base the part of the capital costs of a project paid for by using passenger facility revenue to establish a price under a contract between the agency and an air carrier or foreign air carrier.
(3)
For a project for terminal development, gates and related areas, or a facility occupied or used by at least one air carrier or foreign air carrier on an exclusive or preferential basis, a price payable by an air carrier or foreign air carrier using the facilities must at least equal the price paid by an air carrier or foreign air carrier using a similar facility at the airport that was not financed with passenger facility revenue.
(4)
Passenger facility revenues that are held by an air carrier or an agent of the carrier after collection of a passenger facility charge constitute a trust fund that is held by the air carrier or agent for the beneficial interest of the eligible agency imposing the charge. Such carrier or agent holds neither legal nor equitable interest in the passenger facility revenues except for any handling fee or retention of interest collected on unremitted proceeds as may be allowed by the Secretary.
(h)
Compliance.—
(1)
As necessary to ensure compliance with this section, the Secretary shall prescribe regulations requiring recordkeeping and auditing of accounts maintained by an air carrier or foreign air carrier and its agent collecting a passenger facility charge and by the eligible agency imposing the charge.
(2)
The Secretary periodically shall audit and review the use by an eligible agency of passenger facility revenue. After review and a public hearing, the Secretary may end any part of the authority of the agency to impose a passenger facility charge to the extent the Secretary decides that the revenue is not being used as provided in this section.
(3)
The Secretary may set off amounts necessary to ensure compliance with this section against amounts otherwise payable to an eligible agency under subchapter I of chapter 471 of this title if the Secretary decides a passenger facility charge is excessive or that passenger facility revenue is not being used as provided in this section.
(i)
Regulations.—
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations necessary to carry out this section. The regulations—
(1)
may prescribe the time and form by which a passenger facility charge takes effect;
(2)
shall—
(A)
require an air carrier or foreign air carrier and its agent to collect a passenger facility charge that an eligible agency imposes under this section;
(B)
establish procedures for handling and remitting money collected;
(C)
ensure that the money, less a uniform amount the Secretary determines reflects the average necessary and reasonable expenses (net of interest accruing to the carrier and agent after collection and before remittance) incurred in collecting and handling the charge, is paid promptly to the eligible agency for which they are collected; and
(D)
require that the amount collected for any air transportation be noted on the ticket for that air transportation; and
(3)
may permit an eligible agency to request that collection of a passenger facility charge be waived for—
(A)
passengers enplaned by any class of air carrier or foreign air carrier if the number of passengers enplaned by the carriers in the class constitutes not more than one percent of the total number of passengers enplaned annually at the airport at which the charge is imposed; or
(B)
passengers enplaned on a flight to an airport—
(i)
that has fewer than 2,500 passenger boardings each year and receives scheduled passenger service; or
(ii)
in a community which has a population of less than 10,000 and is not connected by a land highway or vehicular way to the land-connected National Highway System within a State.
(j)
Limitation on Certain Actions.—
A State, political subdivision of a State, or authority of a State or political subdivision that is not the eligible agency may not tax, regulate, or prohibit or otherwise attempt to control in any manner, the imposition or collection of a passenger facility charge or the use of the revenue from the passenger facility charge.
(k)
Competition Plans.—
(1)
In general.—
Beginning in fiscal year 2001, no eligible agency may impose a passenger facility charge under this section with respect to a covered airport (as such term is defined in section 47106(f)) unless the agency has submitted to the Secretary a written competition plan in accordance with such section. This subsection does not apply to passenger facility charges in effect before the date of the enactment of this subsection.
(2)
Secretary shall ensure implementation and compliance.—
The Secretary shall review any plan submitted under paragraph (1) to ensure that it meets the requirements of this section, and shall review its implementation from time-to-time to ensure that each covered airport successfully implements its plan.
(l)
Passenger Facility Charge Streamlining.—
(1)
In general.—
(A)
Regulations.—
The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to streamline the process for authorizing eligible agencies for airports to impose passenger facility charges.
(B)
Passenger facility charge.—
An eligible agency may impose a passenger facility charge of $1, $2, $3, $4, or $4.50 in accordance with the provisions of this subsection instead of using the procedures otherwise provided in this section.
(2)
Notice and opportunity for consultation.—
The eligible agency must provide reasonable notice and an opportunity for consultation to air carriers and foreign air carriers in accordance with subsection (c)(2) and must provide reasonable notice and opportunity for public comment in accordance with subsection (c)(3).
(3)
Notice of intention.—
The eligible agency must submit to the Secretary a notice of intention to impose a passenger facility charge under this subsection. The notice shall include—
(A)
information that the Secretary may require by regulation on each project for which authority to impose a passenger facility charge is sought;
(B)
the amount of revenue from passenger facility charges that is proposed to be collected for each project; and
(C)
the level of the passenger facility charge that is proposed.
(4)
Acknowledgment of receipt and indication of objection.—
(A)
In general.—
The Secretary shall acknowledge receipt of the notice and indicate any objection to the imposition of a passenger facility charge under this subsection for any project identified in the notice within 60 days after receipt of the eligible agency’s notice.
(B)
Prohibited objection.—
The Secretary may not object to an eligible airport-related project that received Federal financial assistance for airport development, terminal development, airport planning, or for the purposes of noise compatibility, if the Federal financial assistance and passenger facility charge collection (including interest and other returns on the revenue) do not exceed the total cost of the project.
(C)
Allowed objection.—
The Secretary may only object to the imposition of a passenger facility charge under this subsection for a project that—
(i)
establishes significant policy precedent;
(ii)
raises significant legal issues;
(iii)
garners significant controversy, as evidenced by significant opposition to the proposed action by the applicant or other airport authorities, airport users, governmental agencies, elected officials, or communities;
(iv)
raises significant revenue diversion, airport noise, or access issues, including compliance with section 47111(e) or subchapter II of chapter 475;
(v)
includes multimodal components; or
(vi)
serves no aeronautical purpose.
(5)
Authority to impose charge.—
Unless the Secretary objects within 30 days after receipt of the eligible agency’s notice, the eligible agency is authorized to impose a passenger facility charge in accordance with the terms of its notice under this subsection.
(6)
Acknowledgement not an order.—
An acknowledgement issued under paragraph (4) shall not be considered an order issued by the Secretary for purposes of section 46110.
(m)
Financial Management of Charges.—
(1)
Handling of charges.—
A covered air carrier shall segregate in a separate account passenger facility revenue equal to the average monthly liability for charges collected under this section by such carrier or any of its agents for the benefit of the eligible agencies entitled to such revenue.
(2)
Trust fund status.—
If a covered air carrier or its agent fails to segregate passenger facility revenue in violation of the subsection, the trust fund status of such revenue shall not be defeated by an inability of any party to identify and trace the precise funds in the accounts of the air carrier.
(3)
Prohibition.—
A covered air carrier and its agents may not grant to any third party any security or other interest in passenger facility revenue.
(4)
Compensation to eligible entities.—
A covered air carrier that fails to comply with any requirement of this subsection, or otherwise unnecessarily causes an eligible entity to expend funds, through litigation or otherwise, to recover or retain payment of passenger facility revenue to which the eligible entity is otherwise entitled shall be required to compensate the eligible agency for the costs so incurred.
(5)
Interest on amounts.—
A covered air carrier that collects passenger facility charges is entitled to receive the interest on passenger facility charge accounts if the accounts are established and maintained in compliance with this subsection.
(6)
Existing regulations.—
The provisions of section 158.49 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, that permit the commingling of passenger facility charges with other air carrier revenue shall not apply to a covered air carrier.
(7)
Covered air carrier defined.—
In this section, the term “covered air carrier” means an air carrier that files for chapter 7 or chapter 11 of title 11 bankruptcy protection, or has an involuntary chapter 7 of title 11 bankruptcy proceeding commenced against it, after the date of enactment of this subsection.
(n)
Use of Revenues at Previously Associated Airport.—
Notwithstanding the requirements relating to airport control under subsection (b)(1), the Secretary may authorize use of a passenger facility charge under subsection (b) to finance an eligible airport-related project if—
(1)
the eligible agency seeking to impose the new charge controls an airport where a $2.00 passenger facility charge became effective on January 1, 2013; and
(2)
the location of the project to be financed by the new charge is at an airport that was under the control of the same eligible agency that had controlled the airport described in paragraph (1).
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 1113; Pub. L. 103–305, title II, §§ 203, 204(a)(1), (b), Aug. 23, 1994, 108 Stat. 1582, 1583; Pub. L. 104–264, title I, § 142(b)(2), title XII, § 1202, Oct. 9, 1996, 110 Stat. 3221, 3280; Pub. L. 104–287, § 5(67), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3395; Pub. L. 106–181, title I, §§ 105(a), (b), 135(a), (b), 151, 152(a), 155(c), Apr. 5, 2000, 114 Stat. 71, 83, 86–88; Pub. L. 108–176, title I, §§ 121(a)–(c), 122–123(d), 124, Dec. 12, 2003, 117 Stat. 2499–2502; Pub. L. 110–253, § 3(c)(1), June 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 2417; Pub. L. 110–330, § 5(a), Sept. 30, 2008, 122 Stat. 3718; Pub. L. 110–337, § 1, Oct. 2, 2008, 122 Stat. 3729; Pub. L. 111–12, § 5(a), Mar. 30, 2009, 123 Stat. 1458; Pub. L. 111–69, § 5(a), Oct. 1, 2009, 123 Stat. 2055; Pub. L. 111–116, § 5(a), Dec. 16, 2009, 123 Stat. 3032; Pub. L. 111–153, § 5(a), Mar. 31, 2010, 124 Stat. 1085; Pub. L. 111–161, § 5(a), Apr. 30, 2010, 124 Stat. 1127; Pub. L. 111–197, § 5(a), July 2, 2010, 124 Stat. 1354; Pub. L. 111–216, title I, § 104(a), Aug. 1, 2010, 124 Stat. 2349; Pub. L. 111–249, § 5(a), Sept. 30, 2010, 124 Stat. 2628; Pub. L. 111–329, § 5(a), Dec. 22, 2010, 124 Stat. 3567; Pub. L. 112–7, § 5(a), Mar. 31, 2011, 125 Stat. 32; Pub. L. 112–16, § 5(a), May 31, 2011, 125 Stat. 219; Pub. L. 112–21, § 5(a), June 29, 2011, 125 Stat. 234; Pub. L. 112–27, § 5(a), Aug. 5, 2011, 125 Stat. 271; Pub. L. 112–30, title II, § 205(a), Sept. 16, 2011, 125 Stat. 358; Pub. L. 112–91, § 5(a), Jan. 31, 2012, 126 Stat. 4; Pub. L. 112–95, title I, §§ 111(a)–(c)(1), 152(e)(1), Feb. 14, 2012, 126 Stat. 17, 18, 34; Pub. L. 114–190, title II, § 2302, July 15, 2016, 130 Stat. 638; Pub. L. 115–254, div. B, title I, § 121, div. B, title V, § 539(b), Oct. 5, 2018, 132 Stat. 3201, 3370; Pub. L. 118–63, title VII, §§ 775, 776(a), May 16, 2024, 138 Stat. 1300.)
cite as: 49 USC 40117