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EAA Agrees To Pay For AirVenture Controllers

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After months of negotiations and a legal challenge in the courts, EAA said this week it has agreed to pay the FAA's expenses to send controllers to AirVenture through 2022. "This ends the uncertainty that began with the FAA's sudden assessment of ATC fees for the 2013 event and the potential that air traffic support might not be provided this year or in the future unless such fees were paid," EAA said in a statement on Friday.

After EAA was forced to sign a one-year ATC agreement under protest in 2013, the organization filed a petition with the U.S. Seventh District Court of Appeals, arguing that the FAA has no legal right to charge for ATC services without clear Congressional authorization. That challenge has now been dismissed by the court and can't be filed again, EAA said. In a lengthy Q&A posted online, EAA said it thoroughly explored all of the possible options and decided this was the only way to ensure that AirVenture would get the level of service needed and also enable EAA to have a predictable budget for the event. The costs,which EAA estimates will total $475,000 per year for this year and 2015, will be folded in to the overall expenses for the event, EAA said, and they will "make every effort to ensure that the impact is minimal" on the costs for visitors and vendors.

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