United Airlines CFO John Rainey told Bloomberg's Trish Regan this week that U.S. airlines are overburdened by federal taxes.
"There's no other way to describe it except to say it's a crushing tax burden," Rainey said, about 4 minutes and 15 seconds into the interview. "For a typical $300 domestic ticket, you pay about 20% in taxes. They go straight to the government. That's a rate that is higher than alcohol, tobacco, firearms -- all of which are taxes to discourage consumption."'
Rainey then pivots to a comparison between U.S. airlines and key Middle Eastern airlines, like Etihad and Emirates.
"We have to compete with them," Rainey said. "And they've got very supportive government. And they've got a good national airline policy, which we don't have."
What do you think of Rainey's comments? Are U.S. airlines too highly taxed?
Incidentally, Canadian airlines actually think U.S. airlines have an unfair competitive advantage because the U.S. tax rate is lower than it is in Canada. It's a big reason many Canadians drive across the border for air travel, according to the Wall Street Journal.