BizAv Unites To Oppose User Fees

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Congress must continue to have authority over the FAA, user fees must be avoided, and the general public -- which benefits in broad ways from a robust aviation system -- must continue to fund at least 25 to 30 percent of the FAA budget. So decreed Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), at a press conference yesterday, joined by Pete Bunce and Jim Coyne -- leaders of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). The three said they are willing to pay their fair share of running the system, but they are already doing that by paying fuel taxes, which are easy to collect and efficient to pay. Bolen said that commercial airlines, not general aviation users, drive up the cost of the national airspace system. "The airlines' hub and spoke system requires a structure that is like building a church with the capacity for Easter Sunday services," he said. "The size, scope, complexity, and cost are dictated by the commercial airlines." Allocating costs simply by activity would be unfair, the three said. Airline advocates have argued that a "blip is a blip," that it costs no more for ATC to handle a 737 than a Cirrus or a Citation. But the GA advocates say a blip at 7 a.m. at O'Hare is not the same as a blip at 10 a.m. at a smaller field -- it's the airlines that drive up system costs.