Agency Says Experience Shows User Fees Do Not 'Kill' GA
In a telephone conversation with Aero-News last week,
representatives with the Federal Aviation Administration rebuked
many of the points presented by the Alliance for Aviation Across
America, in that group's rebuttal to the FAA's policy document released April
23 on the subject of user fees. Over the next several
days, ANN will present those arguments, and the FAA's contrasting
position on each issue.
As Aero-News reported, the
overriding theme of the Alliance's argument against user fees is
that such systems have wrecked havoc for private pilots everywhere
they've been implemented before, including Canada and throughout
Europe. That is a view also shared by such general aviation letter
groups as AOPA, NBAA, and EAA.
FAA Economist David Weingart maintained the facts don't
support those claims, however.
We cited in our fact sheet a
study by mbs Ottawa, and three universities -- Syracuse University,
MacGill, and George Mason University -- that studied user fees in
10 different Western countries, including Australia, New Zealand,
Germany and Canada," Weingart said. "They found that there was
either an improvement, or a neutral impacy on safety,
modernization, service quality, cost control, financial stability
and the public interest."
When ANN asked about the impact user fees had
on the number of private pilots in those countries, Weingart cited
an interview with the president and CEO of the Canadian Business
Aviation Association, on the business aviation community's views on
NAV CANADA -- the privatized ATC system in place in that
"Basically, he says the CBAA members are quite satisified with
the system, they get value for the money they're putting into it,
and he doesn't think many of the CBAA members want to go back and
revisit the issue of user fees or NAV CANADA system," Weingart
asserts. "So we think there's some evidence there that in Canada,
certainly, that GA is satisified with the system up there."
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown then related the experience of an
FAA pilot who flew from Washington, DC down to Florida, for the
recent Lakeland Fly-In.
"By flying a [Cessna] 182 down to Sun 'N Fun, his only
additional cost for the trip -- if he would have been operating
under our proposal -- would have been around six dollars, for the
increased fuel tax," Brown said. "That isn't much different than
the increases we've seen in fuel costs overall."
"The FAA's position is that overall, the user fees should have
minimal impact on GA, because they're only paying air traffic user
fees if they fly into a large hub airport," Weingart adds "Most GA
pilots will never see a user fee."