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Flying the private skies: Profit over safety

In February, the Bush Administration proposed a change for funding the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Called, “Next Generation Air Transportation System Financing Reform Act of 2007” (link ) , this act aims to shoot down general aviation while at the same time gives new revenue streams for the commercial airline industry.

With their 'privatization mantra' running through the heads, this proposal will shift FAA costs onto the General Aviation community, take away Congressional oversight and place the safety and responsibility of air transportation into, with all probability, the hands of the commercial airline industry. How safe would you feel if, the next time you boarded a flight for business or vacation, that the very same people that look to cut costs by making passengers pay for peanuts and soda are the very same people that oversee your safety?
The administration has proposed to:

  • Raise general aviation gasoline taxes 366 percent to 70.1 cents per gallon (jet fuel is increased from 21.9 to 70.1 cents per gallon)
  • Impose user fee charges on GA flying in Class B airspace
  • Allow the FAA to charge landing fees at some 215 airports
  • Changes the fee structure for the Airline industry from taxes to fees, saving the Airline industry millions in taxes
  • Create a board to set user fee rates
  • Create a board to run the air traffic control system
  • Remove Congressional oversight by having a user fee structure
  • This bill will be disastrous the general aviation community as well as consumers at large. Forcing more fees onto pilots will create a prohibitive cost structure that pilots, the aviation supported community and consumers might never recover from. When a pilot is charged each time they file a flight plan, use large airspace, or request weather information or renew places another nail in the coffin of general aviation.

    America has the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world, moving most, if not all, functions to private, commercial industries would be affect the safety of every flight, whether private or commercial, in America today. Currently General Aviation is highly regulated and highly trained. Moving away from this model will affect the safety and security of our skies. Keep in mind, private pilots make up the Civil Air Patrol and imposing any of these fees on this important volunteer organization will essentially kill this type of volunteerism and make our skies less safe.

    As a private pilot myself, imposing user fees and AVgas tax would essentially kill my flying. Any time a private pilot stops flying, so does the aviation community. Less pilots means less instructors and less flight schools and ultimately less airports. With an airport closing every week in its current rate because of real estate pressures, any additional burden on those airports would essentially shut the airport's doors permanently.

    This bill will have the general aviation community pay for the airline industry's profits while making America's skies less safe.

    Call and tell your congressman that you support the current system and what our safe and secure skies to stay that way.

    Posted by john trevisani at March 14, 2007 8:54 AM
    Comment #212038
    Forcing more fees onto pilots will create a prohibitive cost structure that pilots, the aviation supported community and consumers might never recover from.


    I thought it was a positive thing for Democrats to support raising taxes or increasing the cost of doing business for those who can afford it so that the services that they use are paid for by them and not the poor people.

    Are you saying that since you can afford to fly a plane you should be receiving help from those less fortunate than yourself to help pay for the infrastructure that helps pay for it? And that the increase in fuel might help save the world from Greenhouse gasses by trying to get fewer people flying and polluting our air?

    I must say, this article seems a bit hypocritical to me at best…

    Posted by: Rhinehold at March 14, 2007 10:15 PM
    Comment #212055

    One only need recall 9/11 to assess the Bush administration’s stance on air safety in light of having been pre-informed of a possible attack by jetliner. Air safety and Bush are water and oil.

    And the rescheduling of our air national defense exercises to the 9/11 attack period, rendering it less ready has yet to be explained to my satisfaction.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2007 2:30 AM
    Comment #212058

    General Aviation has served this country well, in both a Civil Air Patrol capacity and an economic capacity.

    Smaller airports serve communities well. They bring economic benefits by employing supplemental resources within the neighboring communities and promote specialized educational and tourist capacities. Removing airports would damage local communities, not help them.

    This bill isn’t about increasing taxes on private pilots; it’s about reducing the costs that the commercial airline industry pays. The consumer won’t feel the savings, only the shareholders of the airline industries will. And those savings will come at a cost of safety.

    The FAA is highly regulated. It’s regulated for a reason; to make certain that every time someone boards a plane, they will arrive safely. That every time a pilot flies for business he does so safely. And every time a volunteer pilot flies a cancer patient for a checkup, they do so safely.

    When you move the budget oversight out of the eyes of Congress, you threaten safety.

    When you move air traffic control into the hands of the commercial airline industry, essentially policing themselves, you threaten safety.

    Posted by: john trevisani at March 15, 2007 7:37 AM
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