United Could Move ‘the Bulk’ of its Operations from Newark Liberty if Proposed Increase in Jet Fuel Tax Becomes Law

By Paul Riegler on 15 September 2018
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A United aircraft taking off from Newark

A United aircraft taking off from Newark

United Airlines said it would consider moving some operations from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to other hubs if lawmakers there enact legislation that would effectively raise jet-fuel taxes that the airline pays.

The bill, which has already been approved in committee, would require all airlines carrying over eight million passengers per year to pay a four cent tax per gallon on all jet fuel purchased in the state. United is the only airline that carries over eight million passengers in a year.

Under the current law, airlines pay tax only on the jet fuel burned during takeoffs and landings at New Jersey airports.

The funds, the bill’s sponsors said, would be used to provide “funding for PATH train extension to Newark Liberty International Airport and airport improvements.”

Testifying before the Senate Transportation Committee, Jill Kaplan, president of the airline’s New York/New Jersey region, said that she was “puzzled,” adding that the airline is “committed to being a good partner, investing in New Jersey’s future and working with our friends in organized labor.”

Kaplan made it clear what might happen should the legislature proceed with the tax.

““It is my profound concern that this will impact our ability to invest in future investments and in turn New Jersey,” she said, adding that the airline might have to consider moving “the bulk” of its operations to other hubs.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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