...Pilots Protest Cost Increases

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Of course, GA pilots in the area are opposed to the airline's position and AOPA President Phil Boyer was at the meeting, along with hundreds of potentially affected pilots. Boyer even met with Minnesota Gov. Tom Pawlenty on the issue. Boyer told the commission that Minneapolis' system of hub and reliever airports is a model and it shouldn't be dismantled "just because ... Northwest Airlines ... finds itself in economic difficulty -- again." He said the fee increases being pushed by Northwest would put rates well above the national average. Boyer suggested other ways of controlling expenses at the reliever airports, such as getting local taxpayers to chip in for airport improvements. He also said the smorgasbord of alternative airports gets GA out of the way of the airlines, reducing delays and ultimately saving them money. Commission staff members will make a report on proposed fees on May 13 and a public meeting will be held in June. Stay tuned ...