GA, Airlines Join Forces To Lobby For Aid

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After several years of bickering among airlines and business-aviation advocates about who will pay what taxes and user fees, all the aviation groups now are banding together to lobby for a piece of the expected stimulus package under discussion in Washington. "As we've gone around and done meetings on Capitol Hill, that's been one of the first observations they've made -- that 'this is great, you guys are all together on this,'" AOPA's Andy Cebula told the Bloomberg News. Lobbyists are hoping to get about $4 billion to advance the development of NextGen technologies such as ADS-B, improved cockpit computers, and better equipment and procedures for instrument approaches. The Air Transport Association, the National Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transport Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and several other groups are all working together to lobby for the aid. Cebula said he hopes the newfound collaborative spirit carries over when the issue of FAA funding and user fees arises in Congress again later this year.

Just last May, the ATA was griping about how private jets clutter the airways while failing to pay for their share of the system, and NBAA responded that delays were the airlines' own fault due to poor scheduling practices.