When the Air Transport Association, the lobbying group for the airlines, sent out an e-mail this week griping about all the private jets that cluttered up the airways during Kentucky Derby weekend, the National Business Aviation Association was quick to respond. "The ATA's suggestion that GA air traffic at a well-planned weekend event in a single location was somehow problematic is simply laughable," said Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO. "The fact is, delays are caused by the airlines over-scheduling flights 365 days a year at big city airports all across the country." The ATA also took a shot at the rest of us, who aren't flying in private jets but in our own piston airplanes. "The recreational piston-engine (or 'general aviation') community has been ginned up by the jet-setters to oppose the small fees proposed, even though these fees would not be imposed on piston aircraft under any proposal Congress is considering," ATA President James May wrote. We had to look up what "ginned up" means, and it's as unflattering as it sounds -- apparently ATA thinks piston pilots can't think for themselves. "It's unfortunate that the nation's big airlines have chosen to focus efforts on attacking general aviation, rather than working toward solutions for modernizing our air transportation system," said Bolen.
The Alliance for Aviation Across America also objected to the ATA e-mail, noting that "according to Department of Transportation (DOT) data, the primary causes for airline delays are weather and the airlines' own practices."