Year End Events might serve as Reminders for FAA Budget Solutions

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Article: A4A Greets Returning Members of Congress and Passengers at Reagan National Airport by Handing out Air Sickness Bags as Part of Stop Air Tax Campaign
Air Sickness Message Bag
Give A4A an A+ for great graphic design symbolism. It was brilliant to hand out messaged bags to the flux of passengers returning from Thanksgiving to educate the public about the current burden of taxes imposed on the airlines’ tickets. But the bags were devoid of ideas to fix the underlying problem.

As reported in Politico and interpreted by AINOnline, Congress is likely to leave town for the holidays without enacting a 2014 budget for 2014 without some of the irrational Sequestration “whacks” of the FAA’s funding. The same article delves into AOPA’s solicitation of its Members for its PAC. The general aviation equivalent to NRA indicates that the dollars are needed to carry its message to the Hill to “fight for our freedom to fly.”

The underlying problem is that the historic levels of dollars allocated by the Administration and the Congress to the FAA’s budget for its operations and NextGen are inadequate. The Administrator in an October speech to the Aero Club of Washington laid out the dimensions of the fiscal issue. He challenged the industry to point to line items that are not needed; what should be a priority in NextGen; what expenditures can be deferred; HOW INDUSTRY CAN PAY FOR THE ESSENTIAL ITEMS?

It is important for the industry to expand public awareness and to increase the political impact, but for what? The aviation industry is a wide segment of interests from individual pilots to large airlines, from unions to manufacturers, etc. Though there are diverse perspectives, there is a commonality of expertise about the operations and priorities of the FAA.

Congress is ill equipped to make judgments about complex policy/budget decisions. In the absence of some industry consensus, neither the Executive nor the Legislative Branches are likely to make any progress on the FAA’s budget. Given the immense pain of Sequestration and the unlikeliness that a solution will come from government, perhaps the unthinkable of privatization” should be considered. It is clear that only the private sector can/will find an answer; someone needs to take the first step.

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