EAA Responds To ATA Chief's Call For Aviation User Fees
January 31, 2006 — The head of the Air Transport Association, as expected, has repeated the call for aviation user fees to bolster FAA's budget, a move that would offload millions of dollars of fees paid by the airlines onto general aviation users.
ATA President/CEO James May made his comments on Friday, Jan. 27, at the National Aeronautic Association in Washington, D.C. In his speech, May repeated the airlines' stand that business aviation and the emerging very light jet market are not paying their fair share of fees to operate the air traffic management system.
"While we are pleased the head of ATA agrees that GA pilots operating from uncontrolled fields, in VFR conditions, have minimum use of the system and should be exempt from any user fees, he is missing the major point," said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs.
"The air carriers are engaged in a coordinated effort to displace their economic problems and failing business model on everybody else. A main scapegoat is general aviation, which the carriers allege is not paying its fair share. In particular, the airlines are targeting business aviation and the promising new very light jet industry in an effort to increase the cost of operating those aircraft and reduce the competition they pose to the airlines' business traveler market."
Revenues generated by the airline ticket tax have dropped by approximately 20 percent because of market-driven low fares. As the airlines continue to sell tickets below the cost of providing service, the revenue into the trust fund continues to decline. EAA agrees with May that with lower revenues flowing into the trust fund combined with it being robbed for general operations, the FAA will not be adequately funded in the future. User fees, however, is not the fix for this problem.