'Tribune's' call for user fees is rubbish

May 27, 2008

Letters to the Editor
Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Via e-mail: ctc-tribletter@tribune.com

To the Editor:

The Chicago Tribune’s proposed cure for what ails the nation’s air transportation system will instead probably kill one of the patients.

In countries that have privatized air traffic control, general aviation—all flight activity except the airlines and the military—has been dramatically reduced and in some cases driven to the brink of extinction. In the U.S. that means severely damaging an industry responsible for $150 billion in annual economic activity and 1.3 million jobs.

Privatized air traffic control systems are run by boards dominated by the airlines with no direct accountability to the people of those countries through oversight by elected officials.

General aviation is a key component of the Chicago area’s economy. At airports like Chicago Executive, Shaumburg Regional, and Dupage, among others, local businesses extend their reach beyond Chicago while clients from outside the area fly in to cut deals with Chicago businesses worth millions.

The 415,000 members of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association recognize the need to modernize air traffic control and believe the best way to accomplish that is to adequately fund the FAA through the current tax structure, with Congress acting as the FAA’s board of directors on behalf of the American people.

Sincerely,

Phil Boyer
President
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

May 23, 2008