Expert Opinion On The User Fee Experience
While pilot groups in other countries can do little to directly influence the debate on user fees in the U.S., AOPA can learn from those delegates who have plenty of experience with the fee-based systems used in their own countries. The U.S. remains the only major aviation-invested country with a mainly government-run aviation services sector (although the recent takeover of flight service stations by Lockheed Martin chips away at that distinction). AOPA President Phil Boyer (who's also IAOPA president) didn't have to look far for validation of his anti-user-fee stance. Canadian Owner and Pilots Association President Kevin Psutka told delegates the numbers are clear -- pilots pay more under user fees. Although Canadian pilots pay a relatively modest $71 flat fee to Nav Canada, the non-profit company that runs air traffic control and pilot information services in that country, Canadian pilots also pay aviation fuel taxes. He estimates the annual bill for Canadian pilots is about $225, whether or not they use any Nav Canada services. In the U.S., GA pilots also pay at the pumps through a fuel tax, but the (estimated) annual bill averages closer to $90 per pilot.