Airline CEO Says Bizav Gets ’Free Ride’

 - November 21, 2006, 4:33 AM

Under the current ATC funding mechanism, business aviation “gets a free ride, or almost free ride,” according to American Airlines chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey. Speaking last week at an Executives’ Club of Chicago luncheon, Arpey said airlines “use two-thirds of the ATC system’s services but pay more than 90 percent of the cost. By contrast, business aviation uses 19 percent of [ATC’s] services, but pays just 5 percent of the cost.” A business airplane carrying a “few people poses the same challenge to ATC as a 777 full of passengers.” Arpey used the term a “blip is a blip,” referring to ATC radar scopes, and said that costs are determined “by the number of blips being managed.” He said the airlines are “subsidizing the corporate travel of other entities, as well as individuals, who can afford their own jets.” Aware that some in the audience might be users of business aircraft, Arpey said, “I will gladly accept a check for your fair share of the ATC tab.”