2006 Press Releases

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NBAA Hosts Panel of General Aviation Groups to Signal Unified Opposition to User Fees

Contact: Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or [email protected]

ORLANDO, FL, October 18, 2006 - National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen led a panel of leaders from several other general aviation associations today in an emphatic call for united action to prevent the airlines from seizing control of the nation's aviation system and shifting a huge cost burden onto general aviation.

A crowd at the event at the NBAA's 59th Annual Meeting & Convention was urged to become involved in the issue and contact their representatives in Congress, or risk "being squeezed out" of access to the air transportation system," Bolen said.

Bolen hosted the forum that featured Tom Poberezny, president and CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA); Peter Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association; James K. Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association; and Andy Cebula, executive vice president of government affairs at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

"The simple fact is the airlines want to pay less and control more," Bolen said in his opening remarks. "They want to shift $2 billion in taxes onto general aviation and remove Congress from control of the system."

The entire GA community is "deeply interested in expanding and modernizing the air transportation system," and considers that the pace at which the new, satellite-based technologies can come online safely and efficiently will require additional funding at the level of about $300 million annually, and provide "an air transportation system that accommodates everyone," he said.

Bolen said that in 1997, the last time Congress took up reauthorization of the FAA, the airlines engaged in "internecine warfare" with the large, legacy carriers taking on the newer, low-cost airlines over the changes they wanted to make to the national aviation system.

"This time, it's circle the wagons at the airlines and come after general aviation," he said.

The panel detailed the general aviation community's unified opposition to user fees on the grounds that such a system would be create a new bureaucracy, raise "hidden taxes" in the form of added administrative processing costs for GA users, and place the U.S. system - the largest, safest, most efficient in the world - on the level of other international user-fee-based systems that are "second at best to ours," as Bolen put it. "No market-leading business would ever emulate a model that is in second or third place."

The issue of user fees for aviation has arisen because a multi-year package for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding and programs will be considered next year by Congress. The Air Transport Association, which represents the U.S. airlines, is looking to this reauthorization process as an opportunity to shift from the traditional way the FAA has been funded to one based on user fees.

General aviation currently contributes for its use of the aviation system through fuel taxes, which are simple to pay and efficient to collect, and serve as an effective proxy for use of the aviation system by general aviation aircraft.

The NBAA forum followed a user fee panel hosted by EAA's Poberezny at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, in July, and will be succeeded by another forum at a GAMA event in November hosted by GAMA's Bunce.

For more information on the FAA reauthorization process, and to contact Congress in opposition to user fees, visit www.nbaa.org/gov.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 7,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.