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Wed, May 16, 2007

ATA 'Strongly Opposes' Amendment Striking User Fees From Senate Plan

Crucial Bill Comes To Vote Wednesday

Not surprisingly, on Tuesday the Air Transport Association (ATA), the trade association for several US airlines, voiced its opposition to a proposal by Senators Bill Nelson and John Sununu to eliminate the $25 travel fee from the Rockefeller-Lott FAA reauthorization bill.

“We strongly oppose the Nelson-Sununu amendment to eliminate the $25 modernization fee,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May (right). “If Congress is going to fairly fund the transformation to a next-generation air traffic control system, this is the perfect time to start the process.

"The proposed elimination of the $25 fee undermines the critical importance of transitioning to a funding mechanism that fairly charges all system users for the ATC services they consume," May added.

As ANN reported Tuesday, the amendment received strong support from general aviation advocacy groups. Many, including AOPA and the Alliance For Aviation Across America, say the proposed fee -- which would only apply to turbine-powered aircraft -- is the first volley in the FAA's plan to imposed larger and harsher fees throughout private and corporate aviation.

ATA has strongly supported the FAA's plan, saying private and corporate aircraft have been using ATC services for years, without adequately paying for use of the system.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the proposal Wednesday. Stay tuned to ANN for continuing coverage of this issue.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.smartskies.org

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