Bolen Fights Back on Think-tank Claims

 - March 3, 2015, 9:51 AM

A Washington think tank’s claims that general aviation isn’t paying its fair share represent an uninformed and misleading “trumped-up take,” according to NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.

The Center for American Progress on February 24 placed an opinion piece titled “Corporate Welfare at 30,000 Feet” in the political insider publication The Hill. The editorial comes as discussions about the funding and structure of FAA reauthorization intensify on Capitol Hill.

“Unfortunately, the federal government charges the most elite fliers the least for the privilege of using the national airspace,” wrote Kevin DeGood, director of infrastructure policy for the center. General aviation accounts for 15 percent of ATC costs yet contributes 3 percent of the aviation taxes, DeGood said. “The time has come for these users to pay their fair share.”

Bolen rebutted the claims with his own letter in The Hill, saying, “The author tried using a sensationalist appeal, and largely unfounded claims, to disparage those who rely on small, ‘general aviation’ aircraft, as Congress takes up an important debate over FAA reauthorization.” 

Bolen noted that the air transportation system was built to meet the requirements of airlines. “If general aviation were grounded entirely tomorrow, the cost of operating the nation's air traffic system would not appreciably decrease.”