NBAA: FAA's Feb. 14 Budget Plan Sweet For Airlines

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The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) last week called the FAA's proposed funding plan a huge tax break for large airlines that punishes small and midsize general aviation businesses, while stripping Congress of its aviation system oversight. Basically labeling the plan as a Valentine's Day gift from the FAA to the airlines, NBAA says airline lobbying would through this plan more than triple jet-A fuel taxes (from 21.4 cents to 70 cents per gallon) paid by general aviation, impose fees on flights simply passing near large airports, add transactional fees for pilot licensing and aircraft certification, and create a new control board likely dominated by the airlines. And then, says NBAA, there are the bureaucracies that must be generated and funded to sustain these new burdens -- all of which would be imposed while revenues going into the Airport and Airways Trust Fund (without the proposed changes) are at record levels. The changes would "overthrow a funding structure that has proven to be stable, reliable and efficient," said NBAA President Ed Bolen, who hopes voices in Congress will stand to oppose the "big new government bureaucracies" and show care for "the nation's small and rural communities."