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AOPA responds to 'Newsweek'AOPA responds to 'Newsweek'

When the latest issue of Newsweek magazine ("Seven Ways to Fix Air Travel") misstated facts on general aviation, AOPA was quick to respond. In a letter to the editor, AOPA President Phil Boyer pointed out that general aviation doesn't cause airline delays. GA is less than five percent of the traffic at the most delay-plagued airports.

When the Wall Street Journal editorialized recently in favor of a privatized air traffic control system, AOPA answered back, showing why privatization would be a bad idea.

AOPA recently sent Boyer's editorial, " It's more runways, stupid," to the publishers, editors, and editorial writers of the nation's major newspapers.


March 26, 2001

Ned Crabb
Letters To The Editor
The Wall Street Journal
New York, NY
Via Facsimile 212/416-2255

Re: Mineta's Mistake

It's time to explode the myth that FAA and air traffic control are responsible for the airline delay problem. Plain and simple, the airlines have scheduled more flights through the major airports than those airports can handle. No matter what improvements are made to air traffic control, all of those aircraft ultimately have to line up to use the same limited number of runways.

The truth is, the U.S. air traffic control (ATC) system is still the world's most complex and advanced ATC service. Those who truly understand the system say future technological improvements will only increase capacity 5 to 15 percent. Privatization or user fees won't change that.

By contrast, one new runway can increase an airport's capacity between 40 and 80 percent. Adding a runway to a hub airport like Atlanta Hartsfield or Chicago O'Hare would significantly cut congestion nationwide . Privatization won't build more runways.

Meanwhile, Congress has already made significant reforms so that the FAA can implement new technologies more quickly. It has given the FAA the tools and management structure so that it can operate more like a business.

Through the AIR-21 legislation, enacted last year, Congress has finally guaranteed enough money to fund both ATC improvements and, more importantly, airport improvements. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association believes that we must give these recent reforms a chance to work.

Phil Boyer
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

April 19, 2001

Letters To The Editor
New York, NY
Via Facsimile 212/445-5844

RE: Seven Ways to Fix Air Travel

When Newsweek went looking for ways to fix air travel, it's a shame you never talked to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), representing general aviation. We would have explained that the nation's private pilots don't delay airline passengers. General aviation is less than five percent of the traffic at the most delay-plagued airports. GA pilots prefer to use reliever (outlying) airports when available. Some 90 percent of GA flights are flown under visual flight rules (VFR) away from airliner routes, meaning private aircraft aren't consuming air traffic control services or "taking up precious airspace." Just as drivers pay for highways through a gasoline tax, GA pilots pay for what they use through an aviation fuel tax.

More runways and GPS-guided "free flight" are the keys to solving the delay problem. And it is thanks to the lobbying efforts of AOPA, its 370,000 members, and the nation's private pilots that GPS is available to civilian users today.

Phil Boyer
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

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