Group Uses Bizjet Backlash To Promote User Fees

 - April 14, 2009, 11:45 AM

In its recent issue of “ATC Reform News,” Reason Foundation director of transportation studies Robert Poole is using the anti-business jet rhetoric to further push for a user-funded ATC system. While he acknowledges that business aircraft are “vital business tools” and are unfairly being vilified in Congress and the media, Poole suggests the industry could start to repair its image, as well as speed NextGen implementation, by embracing the $25-per-flight user fee that was in the 2007 Senate aviation subcommittee’s FAA reauthorization bill. “Supporting the $25 NextGen fee would be a symbolically important step for NBAA and other business aviation advocates,” he said. “It would make tangible their claim that business aviation is not a luxury but a necessity.” In response, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told AIN that Poole’s comments are a “thinly veiled attempt to promote aviation system privatization.” He said the general aviation community supports ATC modernization and has “agreed to pay more in direct investment for modernization through Congressional proposals that build on the proven, pay-at-the-pump fuel tax to help fund continued transformation to NextGen.” Bolen said NBAA won’t support any FAA funding proposals “that saddle small and midsize businesses with onerous user fees and an expensive bureaucracy for collecting them.”