ATC, Who Should Pay...

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Airlines Want Business Planes To Pay Fair Share

With the National Business Aviation Association's convention now underway in Orlando, the head of the Air Transport Association (ATA), which represents U.S. airlines, told a Canadian audience of airline industry executives last Monday that business aircraft should pay as much as airliners to use the National Airspace System. Further, slower aircraft should be segregated to make the system more efficient. Speaking to the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) annual meeting in Montreal, ATA President Jim May said airlines shouldn't be expected to shoulder an unfair burden of the FAA's funding load in the new financial formula that would result from the reauthorization of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund in 2007. May said the predicted explosion of air taxi operations and the continued increase in business flights mean that 25 percent or more of ATC traffic will in the future come from those sectors. "What we're saying is if they're using 25 percent of the service, they ought to be paying for 25 percent," he told the meeting. May also said that less-capable aircraft need to make way for airliners. He said allowing slower aircraft to use the same flight levels as airliners bogs down the system and reduces capacity. He suggested aircraft be "segregated by altitude," presumably relegating slower aircraft to the lower (and less-efficient) flight levels.