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World's largest pilot organization speaks out against FAA congestion pricing planWorld's largest pilot organization speaks out against FAA congestion pricing plan

World’s largest pilot organization speaks out against FAA congestion pricing plan

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says the Federal Aviation Administration is jumping too far too soon with its plan to reduce airline delays with congestion pricing.

“Congestion pricing should be the FAA’s last resort, not its first,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “The agency’s proposal does nothing to improve the national air transportation system and could in fact hurt general aviation's access to airport.”

In its formal comments and in previous communications with the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation, AOPA has offered specific suggestion for ways to reduce delays. Some of those suggestions include:

  • Align schedules with capacity benchmarks;
  • Implement changes in air traffic control procedures;
  • Educate the travelling public;
  • Ensure adequate air traffic control staffing;
  • Add more runways to existing airports; and
  • Mandate key technologies for landing at congested airports.

Although delays ripple through the system, they are generally caused by problems at specific airports. The MITRE Corporation, which does research and development work for the FAA, determined that seven air carrier airports alone are responsible for 72 percent of delays in the system. General aviation accounts for only 2.1 percent of the traffic at those seven airports.

An aviation rulemaking committee established by the Department of Transportation to develop ways to reduce congestion in New York City did not endorse congestion pricing and in fact made clear in its report that the concept was opposed by the majority of the aviation community.

“The possibility that this policy could expand to reliever and other general aviation airports is alarming,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA’s executive vice president of government affairs. “Airports that don’t even have airline service may see DOT’s new emphasis on congestion pricing as a green light to to start charging our members more to use their facilities, even though such tactics at those airports would have absolutely no effect on systemwide delays.”

Discouraging or limiting general aviation access to airports is an unsatisfactory management strategy. AOPA believe the Department of Transportation should scrap plans for congestion pricing and pursue alternative solutions that have been offered by the aviation rulemaking committee and others in the aviation industry.

08-2-003

April 7, 2008

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