User Fee Discussion Planned For Convention

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The political gears will be turning in earnest at this year's NBAA convention as GA groups resume their unified posture against a user fee system currently under consideration by the FAA. NBAA President Ed Bolen, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce, EAA President Tom Poberezny, National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne and AOPA's government specialist Andy Cebula will be on a panel to discuss what Bolen maintains is a brazen attempt by the airline industry to not only dump $2 billion of its costs on GA, but to gain effective control of the National Airspace System in the bargain. The airlines, through their lobby group, the Air Transport Association (ATA), claim they're subsidizing GA.

The logic, according to the ATA, is that the airlines collect taxes on behalf of the government for air traffic control and other services that are disproportionate to the number of flights airlines have using the system. They're lobbying hard for a user-pay format in which every airplane, regardless of size and location, pays the same fee for using the system. GA advocates say the air traffic control system is built around the needs of the airlines and GA traffic has little or no impact on the costs to run the system.