NEW YORK – U.S. airlines are mounting a fierce campaign to derail a proposed increase in airline passenger fees that would go toward security costs.
The Bush administration proposed the $3 hike in fees to raise $1.5 billion but airlines say the increase will make it harder for them to raise fares and discourage people from flying.
Air Transport Association (search) President James C. May warned the increase may damage the economy and said the government should cover the costs since it is responsible for national security. "We don't want to, in the name of national security, seriously damage our economic security, and the airlines are a big part of our national economy," May said.
However, the government said it already pays 20 percent of airport security costs and doesn't buy that shifting the burden to passengers will result in a decrease in air travel. "If you look at surveys, passengers say they are willing to pay that fee because they feel the security it is buying them is well worth the money," said Transportation Security Administration (search) spokesman Mark Hatfield.
Last year, the airline industry persuaded Congress to reject a similar increase in airport security fees.
Click on the video box above for a complete report by FOX News' Rebecca Gomez.