General Aviation Groups Announce FAA Funding Principles

Copy of Guiding Principles available by visiting:

Download the recorded remarks in MP3 format.

Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or
Katie Pribyl, GAMA, (202) 393-1500 or
David Almy, NATA, (703) 845-9000 or

WASHINGTON, DC, March 8, 2006 – Three leading associations representing the general aviation community today unveiled unified principles for the FAA Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) reauthorization, including the retention of Congressional oversight, development of a modernization and investment plan, and rejection of a user fee funding scheme in lieu of the current fuel tax system.

The announcement by the presidents of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), comes as the largest airlines’ trade association formally launched a massive campaign to persuade Congress to follow its formula for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding.

“We in general aviation have five guiding principles for FAA reauthorization that we would like Congress to consider,” said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the NBAA. Along with Peter Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, and James Coyne, president of NATA, Bolen outlined the following principles:

  • Modernize with satellite technology. The groups support transitioning to a future air transportation system that is more satellite-based than today’s ground-based navigation system, even though there may be some equipage costs that general aviation users will bear.
  • Invest in the National Air Transportation System. The economic benefits of a strong air transportation system are clear, as evidenced by the many communities across the country that consider the local airport their single greatest economic development tool. A robust contribution of 25 to 30 percent to the FAA from the “General Fund” is needed to support development of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.
  • Keep general aviation fuel taxes. The general aviation community has always financially contributed to the national air transportation system through the payment of fuel taxes. These taxes are paid “at the pump,” so there are no administrative costs associated with compliance. Fuel taxes should remain the mechanism through which general aviation pays for the costs it imposes on the system.
  • Reject user fees for general aviation. User fees are costly and require a large bureaucracy to administer. They are confusing and time-consuming to process, ripe for dispute and economically detrimental to the general aviation community.
  • Ensure continuing Congressional authority. Congress is specifically designated as the voice of the American people. For that reason, Congress should continue to have authority over FAA funding and other aviation issues.

“GAMA member companies strongly believe that any discussion of trust fund revenues and FAA financing must be directly tied to the development of a long-term modernization plan of the air traffic control system,” said Bunce.

Referring to today’s proposals by the Air Transport Association (ATA), Bunce added, “We are concerned that the commercial airlines are proposing an approach that would simply allow them to pay less for use of the system, while at the same time, give them control over how the system is managed. It is our hope that industry and government can agree on a plan that will strengthen the world’s safest, strongest, and most efficient aviation system.”

NATA’s Coyne, who once taught at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said: “The airlines are proposing a user fee concept based on ‘activity levels,’ and that goes against every standard of economics practice. It would be laughed out of any MBA classroom. Everyone in the industry knows that the airlines are the cost driver for the National Air Transportation System.”

The general aviation leaders discussed FAA reauthorization with reporters on a conference call on March 8. Listen to the recorded remarks (MP3 format). More information about general aviation’s guiding principles can be found on the web at #\t#

Founded in 1947, NBAA serves more than 7,000 Member Companies by promoting the aviation interests of organizations utilizing business aircraft in the United States and worldwide. The association 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