Says Small Airports Are Like Exit Ramps For A Community
Last week, Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association President Phil Boyer highlighted the value
general aviation has on Southern California communities, to
business people and local/regional government officials. The event
was initiated by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, as part of the
overall transportation initiatives of the US Chamber of
As a featured speaker at the first Southern California Aviation
Summit, Boyer asked the audience to think beyond airline service
when it comes to aviation.
"Through the miracle of general aviation, I can give this speech
this morning and still be home for dinner tonight," Boyer said. "I
couldn't possibly do that on the airlines."
Boyer also chided the members of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
and other participants for thinking of only the airports in the
"Inland Empire" (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) with
commercial air service. He highlighted all of the area airports on
an aerial photograph, and explained that each of those airports is
like an exit ramp from the interstate to their communities.
"You wouldn't give up an off-ramp," Boyer said. "Your community
airport is even more valuable."
Boyer noted general aviation has a significant positive economic
contribution to communities with airports, and that GA generates
some $150 billion in economic activity and 1.3 million jobs
He explained the threat posed by the administration's FAA
funding proposal that would radically increase general aviation
fuel taxes and create new user fees outside of congressional
He pointed out that nine out of 10 GA pilots have told AOPA they
will fly significantly less if fuel taxes are increased to 70 cents
a gallon -- and that would affect businesses and jobs in the Inland
Boyer also told the audience that the proposal would be bad for
airline passengers as well.
"The proposal would reduce the airlines' contributions toward
FAA operating costs by nearly $2 billion a year," said Boyer, "but
we know from past experience that airline passengers wouldn't see
any savings. And because the proposal gives the airlines and the
FAA unfettered ability to increase fees to cover FAA cost overruns,
airline passengers will ultimately pay a lot more."
The evening before the chamber speech, Boyer took advantage of
the Southern California location -- a mecca for pilots -- and
hosted his first Pilot Town Meeting of the year to more than 300
area aviation enthusiasts.