If automatic federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” take effect in January, the Obama Administration and the FAA could ramp up efforts to impose aviation user fees to plug the gap, NBAA fears. Under sequestration, the FAA budget could be cut by $1 billion annually, according to an Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) study released on Monday.
Coincidentally, the Obama Administration’s proposed $100 aviation user fee (which excluded piston aircraft) in its Fiscal Year 2013 budget was projected to bring in $11 billion over the next decade, meaning an average of $1.1 billion per year. While aviation user fees were thwarted by Congress, the debate about them will likely reignite since these additional revenues could offset sequestration cuts. Thus NBAA expects the aviation user fee issue to rear its head once again.
“The sequestration process was designed to spur federal action on spending cuts and/or revenue increases. While there remains significant uncertainty about how this process will unfold, it is clear that business aviation has a great deal at stake,” NBAA president Ed Bolen told AIN. “Cuts at the FAA are likely, and there will undoubtedly be some push for a per-flight user fee. Now is the time for NBAA members to communicate with their elected officials at the local, state and federal levels.”