2007 Press Releases

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NBAA: Small Businesses, Small Towns, Rural Areas Lose Under FAA Plan

Proposal Threatens General Aviation, Which Serves Under-Served Airports, Communities

Contact: Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or dhubbard@nbaa.org

WASHINGTON, DC, March 21, 2007 – America's air transportation system and the small- to mid-size businesses in small towns and rural areas nationwide that depend on general aviation would be the losers if a user fee plan being pushed by the airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) becomes law, Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), told a congressional subcommittee today.

In testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Bolen argued that the FAA plan fulfills a long-standing lobbying campaign by the airlines to shift airline costs onto general aviation in the form of onerous new taxes and user fees.

In addition, Bolen said, "In 1997, the nation's seven largest airlines pushed for a user fee scheme. But according to one airline CEO at the time, the real goal was 'control of the FAA by the Big Seven and for their exclusive benefit.'

"This time around, the airlines have picked a new target for their tax shift – general aviation – and they have increased the amount to $2 billion. The objective of reducing congressional control of the FAA remains the same," he said.

When it comes to modernization, Bolen said "the FAA talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk."

In reality, he said, the FAA plan "cuts FAA funding by $600 million, reduces the General Fund contribution by hundreds of millions, and diverts money that could and should be spent on runways, towers and modernization technologies and wastes it on a new bureaucracy. After all that, it allows the FAA to go into debt."

Bolen also questioned why, if the bill is really a modernization plan, it does not outline the technologies, timelines or costs of the next phase of modernization envisioned for the national air transportation system.

"The truth is that the airline-backed proposal is completely at odds with modernization because it contains provisions that would overthrow a funding structure that has proven to be stable, reliable and growing for more than 25 years in exchange for a radical user fee regime that would jeopardize the largest, safest and most efficient air transportation system in the world," Bolen said.

"The battle over aviation user fees is a battle over whether Congress will retain control of the air traffic system or whether that control will shift to unelected bureaucrats or even industry," Bolen stated. "If that happens, small and mid-size businesses, small towns and rural areas not served by scheduled airlines, and dependent on general aviation, will be devastated by the loss of voice, new taxes and user fees."

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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 8,000 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.

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