"We just write it off," he said, noting that the collection rate is about 80 percent under the current fee. The revenue goes to the airport, airport general manager Ben DeCosta said.
Gittens said some other cities charge more than $1,500. The average fee for EMS transportation in metro Atlanta is $900 plus mileage charges, according to the airport. Grady Memorial Hospital EMS's fee is $1,650 plus $25 per mile.
Last year, about 1,400 people used emergency transport from the airport, including both Fire Rescue transports and calls handled by private services.
Questioned by committee members, Gittens and DeCosta said the $1,300 amount is for cost recovery.
"The problem is that the city of Atlanta for over 20 years has been subsidizing it," said Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Ben DeCosta. "We can no longer afford to."
With revenue from parking and other functions down because of the economy, airport managers also want to boost fees charged to shuttle and other ground transportation operators, saying they also haven't risen in more than 20 years.