2007 Press Releases

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NBAA Applauds Nelson/Sununu Amendment Striking User Fees From Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill

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

WASHINGTON, DC, May 15, 2007 -- The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today applauded an amendment introduced by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and John Sununu (R-NH) that would strike proposed language calling for a per-flight user fee as part of a Senate "reauthorization" (or funding) bill for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

"NBAA thanks Senators Nelson and Sununu for recognizing that funding the FAA and modernizing the nation's aviation system are critical, and that they can be accomplished without resorting to a regressive and administratively burdensome user fee, which would be very harmful to the small businesses and rural communities that rely on general aviation," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "The general aviation community is deeply grateful to these two senators for co-sponsoring an amendment to take the user fee out of the Senate's FAA funding bill."

The Nelson/Sununu amendment, introduced today, proposes to strike the per-flight user fee included in S.1300, introduced on May 3. NBAA has been unified with other general aviation groups in opposing the user fee for a number of reasons.

The proposal introduces user fee funding. Bill S.1300 establishes a new $25 per-flight user fee for turbine operations. The per-flight user fee is very regressive, applying equally to a jumbo jetliner flying out of John F. Kennedy International Airport with 300 people aboard and a turboprop aircraft flying in controlled airspace from a small town with five people aboard. In addition, payment of the fee is likely to be a significant administrative burden for many general aviation operators. The International Air Transport Association has said that it costs international airlines $85 to $125 just to process a foreign user fee. That processing cost is likely to be even higher for non-airline companies, since they are primarily small and mid-size companies not set up to handle charges like these. Thus, the $25 per-flight fee represents a huge hidden cost to operators that dramatically exceeds the amount of the fee itself.

The legislation necessitates a collection bureaucracy. The proposal would require a large and expensive bureaucracy of billing agents, collection agents, auditors, dispute arbitrators and others.

The user fee proposed in S.1300 is unnecessary. According to press reports regarding the overall funding plan, the fuel tax for turbine-powered general aviation will increase by 125 percent, generating approximately $400 million per year. That amount is roughly equal to the entire amount of the modernization fund. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office, General Accountability Office and the Department of Transportation's Inspector General have said that the current funding structure will provide the additional revenues necessary to build the Next Generation Air Traffic System.

"The amendment introduced today by Senators Nelson and Sununu is great news for businesses and towns across the country," Bolen continued. "NBAA and other general organizations look forward to working with these two senators, and the other supporters of their amendment, to ensure its passage."

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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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