Aviation groups: Costly proposals won't work

October 28, 2011

Debt-reduction proposals that would hike fees on all aviation “would lead to significant job loss across all sectors of the industry and the nation,” a broad coalition of nearly 30 aviation organizations told Congress Oct. 27.

In a joint statement, AOPA and organizations from all aspects of aviation urged Congress to reject two proposals that would add significant cost to users of the National Airspace System: a $100-per-flight departure fee, and an increase to the passenger security fee to $5 per one-way trip in 2012 and $7.50 by 2017. The White House proposed the two charges, and the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, often known as the Super Committee, is now considering them, the groups said.

The coalition representing general aviation, manufacturers, consumer organizations, airlines and labor groups united against the large new charges, whether dubbed taxes or fees, and cited opposition to the proposal within Congress.

“A growing bipartisan group within Congress opposes the Administration’s burdensome tax proposal,” the statement reads. Nearly 120 members of the House of Representatives told congressional leadership about the devastating effect that the $100 per flight fee would have on general aviation: “Imposing such a fee would stifle the industry, as has been the case in other countries where user fees have been put in place,” they wrote. The members of Congress also pointed out that the $100 departure fee would have a “devastating impact on the aviation industry and fails to achieve our shared goal of improving the economy and creating jobs.”

“The record is clear. User fees imposed on any segment of the aviation industry tend to expand and grow,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “Such fees could cripple the general aviation community, which contributes $150 billion to the economy each year. The current funding system works. Let's not try to fix what isn't broken.”

AOPA has long maintained that the current system of supporting the aviation system with per-gallon fuel charges works and that per-flight fees would put an unnecessary burden on operators while creating a costly new government bureaucracy.

At a new website designed to educate the public and Congress about the proposals, visitors can urge Congress to reject punitive taxes and fees on aviation and, at the same time, “save American jobs and air service to their communities,” the groups said.