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VLJs not a factor in FAA funding debate, government report says

Cessna Mustang

Opinions about very light jets (VLJs) entering the National Airspace System run the gamut, but one fact is clear: VLJs aren't a factor in the FAA funding debate.

Too many uncertainties in the VLJ market make it impossible to accurately compare FAA costs associated with it, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report commissioned by Congress.

The report, released August 24, compares eight VLJ forecasts. The GAO states that most of the forecasts examined predict an average of about 5,000 VLJ deliveries within 10 years worldwide. This means that the impact on airspace will be minimal at best.

"The report validates AOPA's assertion that VLJs won't darken the skies," said Andy Cebula AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "And VLJs certainly aren't projected to be enough of a presence in the aviation industry to be considered in the current FAA funding debate."

Between 3,000 and 7,600 aircraft are forecast to be delivered as early as 2016 and as late as 2025. But those numbers depend largely on various opinions about the use of VLJs for per-seat air taxi operations, according to the GAO.

In October 2006, the FAA told Congress that it has the capacity to incorporate all of those aircraft into the air traffic control system because they will be introduced incrementally.

September 5, 2007

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