Pilots' Group Fights "Daily Charge" For Services
The head of Canada's largest pilots' group says U.S. aviators would be wise to consider what's happening north of the border as the specter of user fees hangs over American GA. Kevin Psutka, head of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), says Nav Canada's unilateral decision to impose daily fees on GA aircraft using the country's seven largest airports is an example of what privatization can lead to in the hands of a monopoly. "Everybody in the country should be writing their member of parliament about this," Psutka told AVweb. Nav Canada, the private, non-profit company that runs the country's airspace and pilot services network, claims the $10 daily charge for aircraft weighing less than 6,600 pounds (and larger planes declared as being for personal use only) using the seven big airports is a means of more equitably sharing the costs of running the larger, more complex facilities. Nav Canada took over Canadian air traffic control, weather and flight-planning services almost 10 years ago and levied a flat yearly charge for private use of the system. Commercial carriers are assessed individually according to aircraft type and flight frequency and foreign users of the system are also dinged when they visit Canadian airspace. Nav Canada proposed the daily charge last November and, after reviewing comments received on the proposal, decided last week to go ahead with them.