FAA Downgrades Forecast for VLJs

 - January 8, 2007, 11:36 AM

While the FAA drastically cut down on the numbers of very light jets estimated to take to take to the air in the next decade, comments and speeches at the agency’s 31st Annual Forecast Conference this week indicate there will be changes in the way the aviation industry is to pay for operating the nation’s aviation system. For general aviation, it could be in the form of new user fees, higher fuel taxes or both. General aviation is expected to receive a boost from the VLJs, regardless of whether the concept of on-demand air taxis proves viable. The FAA forecasts that 100 of these jets will join the fleet next year, growing to 400 to 500 VLJ deliveries per year through 2017. Earlier figures warned there would be an onslaught of 8,700 VLJs darkening the skies and clogging the ATC system by 2016, which the airline industry is using in its campaign to press for across-the-board user fees.