User Fee Discussion

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A precedent-setting decision north of the border will undoubtedly come up in a discussion planned for EAA AirVenture on Tuesday. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association is hosting the forum and featured speakers include Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier and Cessna President Jack Pelton, along with NBAA President Ed Bolen, AOPA President Phil Boyer and GAMA President Pete Bunce. EAA President Tom Poberezny will moderate and the solidarity represented should send a strong message to the FAA. The session comes a week after the Canadian Transportation Agency upheld Nav Canada's decision to impose a so-called "daily charge" on general aviation aircraft using the country's seven busiest airports. GA operators will pay $10 for 24 hours of access to any or all of the airports but it's not the money that's bothering Kevin Psutka, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. "The age of pay-as-you-go is upon us, indeed a very slippery slop e that has played out elsewhere in the world," Psutka said. "COPA considers this a devastating precedent that will most likely be expanded over time to capture more airports and/or services." AOPA says the Canadian experience will be repeated in the U.S. if user fees are allowed at all, a discussion senior levels of government are having with the FAA. "There can be no compromise on this issue in the United States," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We won't be fooled by U.S. user fee proponents who think they can 'buy off' light GA by exempting us from per flight user fees." Boyer said the FAA seems to be trying to soften up the GA community (and its half a million or more votes) by exempting certain types of general aviation aircraft and operations from extra fees. "User fees for some mean user fees for all," Boyer said. "User fees for anyone would harm all of general aviation."