It certainly isn't fair, but sometimes you have to pay to get the truth out. And if that's what it takes, that's what AOPA will do to fight user fees.
Recently Chief Executive magazine, which is read by the CEOs of some of the nation's most important and influential companies and organizations, published an article by user-fee advocate Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation. The foundation's agenda is privatization of most government functions, so it's no surprise that Poole presented a one-sided argument favoring the airline's takeover of the air traffic control system and user fees.
AOPA asked for equal space to present the other side. The magazine refused. So your association bought a full-page ad to make sure the CEOs understood why the user fee issue is important to them.
"Don't buy the rhetoric of those who would turn over our nation's aviation dominance from government control to the highest private bidder," AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote in the "Executive Alert" to the decision makers.
"Both the FAA and the airlines would like to...place a greater financial burden on non-airline operations; or in basic terms pass along their costs to corporate aviation."
Boyer pointed out that the goal of the airline industry is to take control of the air traffic system away from Congress and therefore the individuals who use and pay for it.
"The thought of airlines being in charge of our nation's aviation infrastructure - when they have enough trouble running their own businesses - is frightening!" said Boyer.
He took issue with Poole's claim that the system is headed for gridlock and that there is no way to pay for modernization.
"Contrary to Poole's assertion, it is also a system that works: A combination of 31 major hub airports that handle 70 percent of all airline passenger and 5,400 community airports that allow companies like yours to use smaller and more efficient general aviation aircraft to transport goods, personnel, and services to the rest of the country."
Poole may not understand aviation and the people who fly as well as he thinks. He concluded his article telling the CEOs, "Don't let your chauffeurs - the corporate flight department - speak for you." Wonder if he has any idea of how many CEOs and other top executives are pilots and fly their own aircraft?
October 19, 2006