Federal officials couldn't answer the question, but AOPA could. During a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Tennessee Rep. John "Jimmy" Duncan asked how foreign controller productivity compares to that of U.S. air traffic control. The Government Accountability Office didn't have the answer and neither did a representative of German air traffic control. So after the hearing AOPA President Phil Boyer dropped in on Duncan to provide the facts. As it turns out, the average controller in the United States handles approximately 3,500 IFR operations each year at a cost of $172 each. By comparison, in Germany the average controller handles only 490 operations at a cost of $390 each. Then Boyer took the opportunity to show Duncan a letter from AOPA member Ward Whelchel, who had written the congressman at AOPA's request to state his opposition to user fees. While Duncan hadn't yet seen the letter, he immediately called Whelchel. "I want all AOPA members in my state to know that I'm not for user fees and there is no way I will be for them," said Duncan, who is a member of the House aviation subcommittee and its former chairman.
April 22, 2005