AOPA has voiced its strong opposition to Virginia House Bill 1603, which would take $5 million each year for three years from the Commonwealth Airport Fund to finance grants to non-hub and small hub airports in the state as an incentive for low-cost airlines to provide service in those areas. The funds were created for necessary maintenance and upgrades to airports for the benefit of the community. They never were intended to be used to subsidize commercial air carrier service. "Virginia pilots pay the bulk of the money into the fund - and it must go to improve safety and capacity at general aviation airports," said AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Roger Cohen. "Offering state-subsidized 'incentives' for airlines should not be done at the expense of general aviation pilots."
January 21, 2005