Members of the House General Aviation Caucus are warning that an amendment to the federal highway bill would “effectively eliminate” the air-tour industry in the United States. The bill, S.1813, deals with funding for the federal highway system; however, it contains an amendment by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would strengthen the ability of the director of the National Park Service (NPS) to impose restrictions and even eliminate air tours over national park and tribal lands. A joint House-Senate conference committee is currently blending competing versions of the bill.
In a letter sent yesterday to conference leaders Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), 18 members of the House GA Caucus expressed their opposition to the Alexander Amendment on the grounds it would transfer airspace authority from the FAA to the NPS, have adverse safety consequences and destroy the air-tour industry just as it is investing heavily in “quiet technology” aircraft.
“Regulating an industry out of existence based on biased judgment, regardless of the state of our economy, is unacceptable,” the signers warned.