President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 spending proposal, at the page numbered “957” states“…the Administration proposes to establish a new surcharge for air traffic services of $100 per flight.” The rationale for this fee is stated there as follows:
“To more equitably distribute the cost of air traffic services across
the aviation user community, the Administration proposes to establish a new
surcharge for air traffic services of $100 per flight. Military aircraft, public aircraft, piston aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights would be exempt.”
Not surprisingly, the Secretary of Transportation’s press release on the 2015 budget does not mention the $100 equitable fee.
The question of whether or not the President’s or any other proposal is more or less equitable than the current system based on a passenger ticket tax and fuel charges has always been the subject of heated debate fueled by diverse opinions from different segments of the industry.
The response from the business aviation community is a repeat of the theme when the same President proposed the same tax a year ago.. NBAA made it clear that the President seemingly has rejected the strong position of Senators, Representatives, Governors, Mayors and industry stakeholders that such fees are “dead on arrival”. Recently four Congressmen (the majority and minority leaders of the House aviation subcommittee) reiterated their opposition .
The association’s President and CEO made it clear where his organization stands:
“NBAA will continue to work to defeat user fees and support the aviation fuel tax mechanism as the most effective way for us to contribute to the system…I know that if our business aviation community continues to let Congress and our state and local officials know of our concerns, we will be able to continue ensuring that our unified voice is heard.”
Unfortunately, this is another battle which will detract from aviation’s most significant policy issue- NextGen, its essential elements, funding and governance. This tax proposal is not specifically tied to the funding of this infrastructure investment nor is there any text which would suggest for what the dollars are needed.
Funding of NextGen is complex and needs to be addressed. This simplistic proposal does not advance the debate.Share this article: