“On behalf of the almost 415,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), let me congratulate and thank Chairman Baucus and Senator Grassley for their leadership in crafting an FAA reauthorization bill that ensures modernization of the air traffic control system, provides needed funds for airport improvement, and enhances safety. But of most importance to all our members, their bill does this through the current system of aviation taxes that have generated a stable and reliable funding stream for 40 years.
“General aviation, which includes all flying except the airlines and the military, is an integral part of the U.S. economy, supporting 1.3 million jobs and more than $150 billion of total economic activity. AOPA and I personally have been involved in the evolution of our air traffic system. And general aviation has consistently demonstrated that it is more than willing to embrace new technologies. In fact, some of today’s single-engine general aviation aircraft have more advanced equipment than contained in airline cockpits.
“AOPA’s membership covers more than 70 percent of the nation’s pilots. More than 110,000 members either fly or are on a career track to fly turbine-powered aircraft. A 65-percent increase in tax on this aviation segment, in light of skyrocketing fuel prices, indicates our financial contribution for the betterment of air travel for all Americans.
“We are also pleased that this bill will continue the nation’s investment in our airport infrastructure. With the airlines serving less than 600 airports nationwide, a number that continues to decline, the 5,400 public-use general aviation airports serving the rest of America become increasingly more important. The leadership of this committee knows the importance of general aviation, particularly in their two states without a major hub airline airport. Through their actions in the Finance Committee, we are pleased that the full Senate will recognize the importance of general aviation to moving America and our economy.”
President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
May 1, 2008