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User fees bad for all aviation, Boyer tells controllers union

AOPA President Phil Boyer told the nation's air traffic controllers that user fees would hurt all of aviation.

"Those two words — user fees, that we've been hearing for two years — could be the death knell for all of aviation," Boyer said, addressing the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at the "Communicating for Safety" conference on September 12.

"And you're in this with us." Boyer said that any sized user fee would start the move away from a "single, uniform government-run system with dedicated employees, to one where decisions will be made outside the control of our elected officials.... It would start us down the road to privatization."

Boyer noted that the Senate FAA funding bill, S.1300, had what many considered an "insignificant" $25 user fee.

"I don't care if it were only one dollar, it would start us down the path toward privatization," Boyer said. He suggested the controllers look at what has happened to "your bothers and sisters in foreign countries."

Boyer reiterated AOPA's support for H.R.2881, the House FAA funding bill.

He concluded by giving thanks to controllers. "It all boils down to the people in the cockpit and the people on the ground. And I'll tell you, when I'm up there, I'm sure glad you're down here."

September 13, 2007

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