Pay attention to the people who pay. That's what a senior AOPA executive told dealers and manufacturers attending the Aircraft Electronics Association convention last week.
"Representing more than 411,000 members, I can tell you that 88 percent will reduce their flying significantly if the Bush administration's proposal to quadruple aviation gas taxes is enacted," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "And if they reduce their flying, they're going to cut back on their purchases of everything aviation related."
Cebula cited AOPA polling data that showed that the majority of AOPA members would reduce their flying hours by up to 50 percent if the gas tax were increased to 70 cents per gallon.
Those data were in stark contrast to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's assertion in her speech to the convention that proposed tax increase wouldn't affect "Joe Pilot in a Cessna 172" because the increased hourly operating cost amounted to "the cost of a Starbucks latte."
Cebula told convention attendees that the FAA proposal included user fees for the airlines and user fees for general aviation flying in Class B airspace.
"Our members have made it very clear that they are adamantly opposed to use fees for any segment of the aviation community," said Cebula.
"The end game of the airlines is to shift $2 billion of their costs to general aviation, and that's exactly what the FAA proposal would do," Cebula said. "It also sets the stage for reducing congressional oversight and management of the FAA through budgetary gimmicks such as 'offsetting collections.'
"Bottom line, the administration's FAA funding bill is bad for general aviation and the businesses that depend upon GA."
April 4, 2007