White House Again Pushes for Aviation User Fees

 - March 4, 2014, 6:00 PM

The White House Fiscal Year 2015 budget, released today, yet again includes a $100-per-flight user fee for air traffic services, with exemptions for military, public and piston aircraft, as well as air ambulances, aircraft operating outside controlled airspace and Canada-to-Canada flights. According to the White House, “The revenues generated by the surcharge would be deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The surcharge would be effective for flights beginning after September 30, 2014.”

NBAA panned this latest attempt from the White House to impose aviation user fees, saying it “ignores the message sent from Congress, mayors, governors and industry stakeholders that user fees are not the right approach to aviation system funding and modernization.” Though the general aviation community has been unified in opposing user fees for decades, President Obama has continually supported the fees, calling for them first in 2010 as part of his annual budget outline, NBAA said.

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen noted that the White House has “continually set aside the reality” that the general aviation community pays for its use of the aviation system through the “proven, efficient fuel tax.” He added, “As with previous user fee proposals from the White House, this one should be taken seriously–but, as in the past, the key to stopping proposals the industry opposes is for people to mobilize and call upon Congress and other elected officials to take action.”

Bolen said lawmakers have opposed user fees such as those suggested by the president in previous annual spending proposals. In fact, last week four key congressmen sent a letter to ask the President to refrain from seeking the new fees.