ATA Points Finger At Business Aviation

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The Air Transport Association (ATA), the airline lobby group that is currently pushing for aviation user fees, has taken another shot across general aviation's bow. On Monday, it asked the FAA to "temporarily create additional airspace capacity by imposing proportional level ground delay programs" at Teterboro Airport (N.J.) and other "nearby airports" in other words, fields that predominantly serve general aviation, a list that includes Westchester County (N.Y.) and Essex (Caldwell) County (N.J.) Airports -- when ground delay programs are implemented at airline-dominated Newark Liberty International, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports. National Business Aviation Association Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Brown told AVweb that the ATA's move "is an attempt to politicize its own perspective" that GA traffic is the main cause of airline delays. In reality, he said, GA accounts for only 4 percent of operations at the nation's 10-busiest airports, with most airline delays caused by the hub-and-spoke system itself, weather, and crew or ATC staffing. Brown added that the ATA is trying to change the game midstream, since all airspace users agreed to a summer air traffic management plan this spring. Under this agreement, "there is already equity in delays in New York City airspace," according to Brown. NBAA suggests that crews caught by ground-hold delays at New York City-area airports, as well as others throughout the U.S., contact the local tower to see if they can help relieve ground congestion by departing VFR and then picking up their IFR clearance in the air.