AOPA Visits Nav Canada On Fact-Finding Trip

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AOPA says it remains opposed to "any proposal that would add costs for GA users" after President Mark Baker, senior AOPA staff and members of the board of directors went on a fact-finding trip to Ottawa, Canada, to learn how the country's privatized user-fee based system works. In an email response to AVweb's inquiry (PDF), AOPA spokesman Steve Hedges said the delegation met with senior officials of Nav Canada, the non-profit corporation that runs Canada's air traffic services, partly in response to a movement to "restructure" the FAA by policymakers and organizations in Washington. "As a result, Mark also wanted to learn first-hand how [Nav Canada] operates and how GA is affected," Hedges said. "AOPA has not changed its views on user fees."

Nav Canada spokesman Jonathan Bagg told AVweb the AOPA delegation was part of a steady stream of industry leaders from all over the world who consult with Nav Canada on air traffic services topics. "In our meeting with AOPA we discussed a whole range of issues and aspects of Nav Canada operations including fee structures, corporate governance, technology and customer relations," Bagg said. Canadian Owners and Pilots Association President Kevin Psutka wasn't able to attend but he said he provided background information to Baker in advance of the meeting. Canadian aircraft that weigh less than 1360 pounds are exempt from Nav Canada fees while most light VFR aircraft pay a flat rate of about $70 a year. Airlines and other commercial operations are charged for the services they use.