Plan Cuts Costs For Airline Passengers, Shifts Burden To
Private Pilots And Biz-Av
REALTIME REPORTING 02.14.07 1115 EST: It may be
Valentine's Day, but the FAA is showing no love for general
Today, Administrator Marion Blakey (right) unveiled details of
its funding plan the agency says will reduce aviation congestion,
improve passenger airline travel, and cut down on noise for
communities near major airports.
The FAA says the proposed legislation, called the Next
Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007,
would replace the decades-old system of collecting ticket taxes
with a cost-based funding program that relies on a
combination of user-fees, taxes and a federal government
contribution to support the development of a new,
satellite-based, air traffic control system.
"This new proposal will make flying more convenient for millions
of travelers," said Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters.
"Anyone who has experienced the frustration and inconvenience of a
delayed flight should take a very close look at what we’re
The Administrator states the so-called NextGen air traffic
control system will take full advantage of the latest
satellite-based technologies, allowing the FAA to handle more
aircraft, maintain high levels of safety, reduce flight delays, and
cut noise near airports. Blakey states the new system is essential
if the agency is to keep pace with growing demand for passenger and
cargo flights -- which will lead to between two-and-three
times more air traffic by 2025, she added.
The bill aims to eliminate the domestic passenger ticket
tax for airline travellers, and reduce the
international arrival and departure tax by 50 percent --
which the agency says will reduce the overall burden to both the
airlines and the traveling public.
It will generate revenues based on the costs that users
impose on the air traffic system -- whether they are
commercial, business or general aviation
"Our proposal will make it easier for airports, airlines and
controllers to keep pace with the skyrocketing demand for air
travel this nation is going to experience over the coming decades,"
said Blakey. "With over a billion passengers expected in the air by
2015, we have to act now or risk gridlock in our skies and on our
The legislation also provides new borrowing authority that can
be used by the FAA to support the construction of new runways,
airport terminals and air traffic control facilities and equipment.
It also calls for the establishment of a new advisory board that
will give members of the aviation community a stronger say in how
federal funds are invested in aviation, while maintaining strong
congressional and public oversight in recognition of the importance
of aviation to the nation.
The legislative proposal makes several changes designed to
improve the ability of airports to meet capital needs and proposes
to reform the Passenger Facility Charge Program to enable large and
medium sized airports to raise local funds for vital construction
projects. It also will restructure the Airport Improvement Program
by better targeting Federal funds. And the bill funds research into
new engine and airframe technology that will reduce aircraft noise
and engine emissions.
Current FAA funding expires on September 30, 2007 -- an event
the FAA states provide a 'unique opportunity' to create a system
that better serves travelers.