Nav Canada Fees Increase

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Canadian pilots are footing the bill for Nav Canada's labor relations problems, says the president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. In his column in the COPA newsletter, Kevin Psutka said the 3-percent hike in user fees levied by the privately run air traffic services provider is "unfair." The yearly fee, which gives pilots unlimited access to weather and other flight information, is going to $60 from $58. There's also a 7 percent tax on the fee. The fee was originally set at $60 when Nav Canada was formed but dropped as low as $55 when the aviation industry was booming. The company says it needs more money now because of the slump in air travel ... which may give the unfortunate impression that the system costs more when there's less for it to do. Psutka said part of the problem is labor costs. "Coupled with an obvious inability to control the major cost driver for the company, labor costs, we are being asked to fund the problems. I do not think this is fair," Psutka said. COPA opposed the user fees when Nav Canada was formed in the 1990s because an 11-percent tax on aviation gasoline was supposed to cover those costs.