AOPA members and members of Congress are on the same page - literally. That's because AOPA this week sent every single senator and representative a copy of AOPA President Phil Boyer's May AOPA Pilot editorial denouncing the airlines' attempted power grab.
"The airlines want to remove Congress as the FAA's 'board of directors,' take over ATC, and make GA pay for it," said Boyer. "This is a battle that will play out over the next 18 months, and Congress will be in the thick of it."
Boyer sent a reprint of the editorial from the May AOPA Pilot magazine to Congress with a personal note, saying, "The airlines and the FAA have been quite vocal in their call for a need to change the way the air traffic system of the Federal Aviation Administration is funded.... We'll all be in this together over the next year and a half, so stay tuned!"
In the editorial, Boyer says that the Air Transport Association (ATA), the Washington, D.C., group that represents the airlines, "has GA in its sights."
ATA said Congress "must impose a schedule of mandatory user charges." Boyer commented, "It sure seems a little odd to me that an industry, which has proven in recent years that it can't even run its own businesses, is telling Congress what it 'must' do."
The airlines want to shift control of the ATC system to a board that would be dominated by the airlines.
But the ATC system exists for the good of the entire nation, Boyer said, and, "Citizens should retain governance [of ATC] through their elected officials in Congress.... We must not let the airlines usurp the authority of Congress."
May 4, 2006