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General Aviation United Against User Fees

GAMA NEWS 06-11 For Immediate Release: Jul 25, 2006

OSHKOSH, WI, July 25, 2006 – Today, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), along with several other general aviation (GA) advocacy groups, participated in a panel discussion about user fees at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture. Led by EAA President and AirVenture Chairman, Tom Poberezny, the panelists demonstrated how the GA community stands united against the airlines’ attempt to pay less and control more by implementing user fees on GA.

Jack Pelton, Chairman, President & CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company and GAMA Chairman, began the discussion with an explanation of why the airlines are advocating user fees as a new funding mechanism for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He went on to explain that even though the airlines are experiencing a recovery, they are attempting to shed an additional $2 to $3 billion onto GA. “As delays at hub airports increase and the airlines continue to shrink their route systems, Americans will continue to rely more heavily on general aviation. Now more than ever, the airlines are viewing GA as a threat and we believe this is one of the very reasons for their push toward imposing user fees.”

Alan Klapmeier, Chairman & CEO of Cirrus Design Corporation and GAMA board member, gave details as to why a funding scheme based on user fees would be an inefficient mechanism for raising revenue. “GA has always contributed to the aviation trust fund through fuel taxes that are easily collected and efficiently administered,” said Klapmeier. “The GA community is unanimously opposed to a user fee system that would require the creation of an inefficient government bureaucracy to collect these fees.”

GAMA’s President & CEO, Pete Bunce, closed the panelist portion with an important discussion on how the airlines drive the cost of the air traffic control system. “The airlines’ hub and spoke operations have driven the design of a system that was built solely to meet their needs,” said Bunce. “It is only fair that they pay for the system built for them.” He finished by recognizing the need for a modernized transportation system but emphasized that a coherent plan must be developed before any discussions about how to finance it can occur.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President & CEO, Ed Bolen, and President of the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), Phil Boyer, also participated in the event.

View the GA groups’ unified position on the user fee debate.

Communications Director:
Andre Castro:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

GAMA exists to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests, and activities of the global business and general aviation industry. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul and the important role these industry segments play in economic growth and opportunity, and in serving the critical transportation needs of communities, companies, and individuals worldwide.