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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Sooooo….not charging as much for a tax that other cities don’t charge is now a subsidy? Per the source article “major hub cities like Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C., don’t levy a similar tax.”

  2. Again, for the record, paying reduced TAXES on fuel is absolutely nothing like your government providing your company with billions in dollars in direct subsidies. It’s a tax break, not a subsidy. Two wildly different concepts, that only bloggers who fly for free on Middle East airlines seem to confuse.

  3. Uh, no, the way the tax is structured is definitely a subsidy aimed at getting airlines to concentrate their flights there. Airlines that buy more than 10M gallons of fuel per year — i.e. those with large operations at Sky Harbor — get a reduced tax bill, while those that have say one flight a day pay full price. That’s a subsidy for the larger airlines. It’s not a large one, but I see no justification for it, since the tax is used to fund the airport itself. Larger users should pay more to maintain it.

  4. @dbeach, that’s not a subsidy. Charging a tax for something others don’t tax by definition is the opposite of a subsidy. And even if every other city did charge that tax, it’s not a subsidy because the city is using the tax reduction as a means to attract the business. That is fair game for a company to use its purchasing power and size as leverage to negotiate the best deal it can. If 2 catering companies are competing to be the food supplier to an airline and reduce their profit so they can undercut the other bidders for the business, that is not a subsidy either.

    @iahphx is exactly right. There is this one sided bias in the blogosphere these days that likes to pretend the Middle east carriers somehow make better business decisions. They didn’t hit a triple…they were born on third base.

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