[JURIST] Airlines for America (A4A) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) [advocacy groups] have filed a petition [PDF] in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit [official website], asking the court to review an Interim Final Rule [PDF] promulgated by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) [official website]. The petition alleges that in the rule, the TSA unlawfully collects higher security taxes by imposing fees exceeding the per-passenger limit established by Congress [text] and collecting additional taxes for trips that originate overseas. The purpose of the security fees is to offset the costs of providing aviation security services, and passengers have paid security fees [A4A press release] since the TSA’s inception in 2001, with a cap at USD $10 per round-rip. Under the TSA’s new rule, the cap would be raised to approximately USD $11.20 per round trip.
The TSA was established by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act [text, PDF] in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks [JURIST backgrounder]. Since its inception the TSA has faced numerous challenges to its policies and practices. In 2012 the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated a challenge [JURIST report] brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over the no-fly list maintained by the TSA. In 2011 the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected a constitutional challenge to the full-body scans conducted at airports by the TSA, holding that the use of full body scanners does not violate the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches, nor does it violate any federal statutes.