As expected, President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014, released yesterday, includes a proposed aviation user fee–just as previous budgets have since 2007 when the Bush Administration first floated the idea. A passage on page 43 of the budget reads, “To reduce the deficit and more equitably share the cost of air traffic services across the aviation user community, the budget proposes to create a $100-per-flight fee, payable to the FAA, by aviation operators who fly in controlled [U.S.] airspace.” Piston, military, public and air ambulance aircraft, as well as Canada-to-Canada flights, would be exempt.
According to the White House, this fee would generate an estimated $7.3 billion over 10 years, which “would finance roughly three-fourths of airport investments and air traffic control system costs.”
Aviation alphabet groups quickly panned the user-fee proposal. “It is unfortunate that the constant negative rhetoric about business aviation from the White House has once again translated into an onerous policy position, this time in the President’s newest budget proposal,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said. Like other general aviation groups, NBAA supports generating FAA revenues through existing aviation fuel taxes.
“The President’s budget is more of the same for general aviation: more fees, more taxes and more attacks on the industry,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. “General aviation manufacturers are a key contributor to exports and economic growth. The Obama Administration needs to focus on substantive policies and refrain from divisive rhetoric that undermines this important industry.”