- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005


With jet fuel prices soaring in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, U.S. airlines have asked Congress and the White House for $600 million in tax relief.

Commercial airlines, which have been battered and in some cases bankrupted by high energy costs, are seeking a one-year reprieve from the 4.3-cents-per-gallon federal tax on jet fuel.

“We’ve discussed it with the Department of Transportation and folks on [Capitol] Hill,” said Jack Evans, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, a Washington trade group for the largest airlines. “I think, so far, people have been receptive.”

The group’s president, James May, will present the proposal at a Senate hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Mr. Evans said.

U.S. airlines have lost more than $30 billion over the past four years, partly because of competition from low-cost carriers and the economic downturn, but also because of high energy costs.

The average spot price of jet fuel is now about $2.12 a gallon in New York, up from $1.27 a year ago. Prices have been rising all year, but they took a big jump after Katrina, which shut down pipelines and refineries and caused supplies to tighten.

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