Says User Fee Plan "Clearly Has Not Worked In Other
Rebuking charges by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that it's
time for general aviation to pay a higher price for use of ATC
services, on Wednesday Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman, President
and Chief Executive Officer Jack J. Pelton told attendees of an
aviation summit at the US Chamber of Commerce the general aviation
(GA) industry in the United States is too fragile and too important
to the nation to allow experimentation on air traffic management
funding options... such as the one proposed by the Federal Aviation
"We have the best system in the world," Pelton said in remarks
to more than 100 top government, business and aerospace leaders at
the Washington event. "Let’s not jeopardize it by taking a
chance with a process that clearly has not worked in other
countries. The economic fallout could be irreversible and
Pelton said the GA community agrees with the FAA that the
nation’s air traffic management system must change to meet
projected growth, but called on industry and government to
collaborate on finding funding solutions that don’t create a
new government bureaucracy or place undue burdens on small-business
owners who depend on GA aircraft.
The FAA, in coordination with financially ailing US airlines,
has proposed to Congress a new funding system based on drastically
increased taxes and new user fees on general aviation aircraft to
replace the current fuel tax system.
"Simply put, the FAA wants to dismantle the current funding
mechanism, increase the tax on jet fuel by 220 percent and on
aviation gas by 261 percent and incorporate a range of new user
fees for general aviation," Pelton said, "An evaluation of the
current funding system shows little need for new revenue streams.
Funding for the FAA has increased, not decreased, in the last
Pelton said the US general aviation industry -- which includes
manufacturers, suppliers, support companies, airport facilities,
and maintenance facilities around the country -- accounted for 1.2
million jobs in 2006, with collective earnings of more than $53
billion. Also, general aviation contributes to a positive trade
balance for the U.S. aerospace industry, with some 42 percent of
total billings exported.
"I would argue that general aviation is an important national
asset that keeps our economy strong, keeps our communities linked,
and significantly enhances the quality of life in ways most people
are not even aware of," Pelton said.
"The debate being conducted here in Washington is critical to
the future well-being of this American success story. The last
thing we need right now is a grand experiment that has already
proven to be a failure in other countries," he added.