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Author Topic: How do all of you feel about user fees for GA?  (Read 6982 times)
EivlEvo
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« on: April 15, 2007, 07:01:27 PM »

Ok folks... Im sure you've all hear and if not it basically comes down to airline passenger taxes. As of right now, anyone who is flying commercially (on an airline) is paying a crapload of extra loot in taxes. Some of these taxes goto such things as airport repair/funding. ATC support/funding. As well as a bunch of other stuff (at least they're supposed to).

The issue is that alot of people are looking at GA airports saying that they shouldn't get any of the money, since we don't actually pay for any of it which isn't entirely true since we have to pay similar taxes for fuel. People are suggesting that GA and corporate aviation doesn't have the same right to use ATC or to access these funds for airport repair/expansion since according to them the airline pax are paying much more in the taxes than we as GA pilots are. Which I believe is also not true. Since there are a large number of airline pax however they end up contributing more as a whole, wether they pay more or not? Im not convinced.

Long story short I could write about this all day but I figured I'd get some feedback from you guys.

1. Do you feel that Airline passengers should or shouldn't be paying for these services?
2. Do you feel that GA and corporate aviation should have to pay a higher rate than they are to make their contribution equal their acquisition?
3. Do you think GA user fees are a good idea?
4. Do you think lessening the load on the airlines and supplementing the fund loss by imposing user fees on GA is a good idea?


I think that about covers it. Rest assured, I think that the only thing that needs changing now are the greediness of the airlines. But im interested to see what the feelings are around the LiveATC community.

~DAVE
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2007, 08:48:45 PM »

Of course, you should add the caveat that this issue is related to the US only, given that many members of this site are from other countries.

1. Do you feel that Airline passengers should or shouldn't be paying for these services?

Yes.  Like it or not, the ATC system was and still exists primarily for scheduled air carrier activity.  Consider, if you will, the percentage of airline to GA aircraft activity in class A airspace in the US.

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2. Do you feel that GA and corporate aviation should have to pay a higher rate than they are to make their contribution equal their acquisition?
 

No.

Quote
3. Do you think GA user fees are a good idea?

No.  One very real byproduct of user fees will be an increased number of weather-related GA accidents.  If VFR aircraft have to pay a fee every time the pilot uses an ATC service, that pilot will most likely choose to fly without VFR services, including en route weather and VFR traffic advisories.  If IFR aircraft have to pay, more instrument-rated pilots will choose to fly VFR into marginal or worse weather in order to avoid the fees.

Quote
4. Do you think lessening the load on the airlines and supplementing the fund loss by imposing user fees on GA is a good idea?

No.  See above.
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Regards, Peter
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Jason
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2007, 09:57:50 PM »

Strongly agree with Peter in addition to AOPA, NBAA, and the other agencies lobbying against user fees.  In a nutshell, it's another unfortunate way for the feds to steal more of our (GA pilots) money, increase the overall cost to fly, and increase the amount of weather related fatalities due to pressures created by userfees.

For those that do not think that weather induced fatalities will increase due to user fees, check out this video produced by AOPA detailing the user fees incurred on a GA flight in Europe.  It's well worth the watch.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 10:31:14 PM by Jason » Logged
LHP50
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2007, 10:28:46 PM »

I say NO.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2007, 10:39:30 PM »

I say NO.

To what question? 
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
cactushp
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2007, 11:16:11 PM »

Probably to if he wants/likes user fees or not.

I am against user fees also, after all pilots from all over the world (China etc.) train here in the United States, to get away from user fees. Otherwise, they would train in their own country.
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Scott Mulhollan
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2007, 10:30:31 AM »

No to user fees.  I provide a public service.  It would be hysterical if GA pilots disputed their fee based on not receiving the service they paid for.  "The controller failed to issue traffic, issue a Class Bravo clearance, etc. therefore I want a refund. 

LH
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cactushp
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2007, 06:44:18 PM »

"The controller failed to issue traffic, issue a Class Bravo clearance, etc. therefore I want a refund. 

LH

I agree. ATC would become more like a business, where if you dont like the service you can complain, and get a refund.

What a mess.
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Scott Mulhollan
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w0x0f
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2007, 08:51:00 PM »

User Fees are  the next step in privatizing ATC. 

The first step was removing the "inherently governmental function" status from ATC.

The second step was the nontract with it's B-scale pay system.  The FAA planned to bargain in bad faith so that contract talks would go to impasse.  Title 49 allowed the last best offer from FAA to go Congress to act upon it within 60 days.  Congress did nothing, just as FAA planned, and then we get the nontract. 

NATCA has been saying for the past several years that a looming staffing crisis was imminent.  The FAA is also capable of adding 1981 + 25 (years of service until retirement eligibility.)  They said they had a plan.  So why haven't they been hiring the past few years on a large scale?  It takes 2-4 years to become a controller.  The plan was to impose a B-scale pay system.  Notice how the hiring push has increased since September when the work rules were imposed.

Now they are pushing all the high-paid help out with miserable working conditions.  Slimming things down for all of the ex-FAA big-wigs that work for Boeing Air Traffic Management, Lockheed Martin, and the airlines to take over the ATC system.

They will attempt to appeal to the masses saying that those rich fatcats flying around in jets are misusing your tax dollars.  Or those flying hobbyists are getting over on the public.  http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070415/ticket_taxes.html?.v=10  They fail to mention the vital role that general aviation plays in our economy.

Do you really think that the airlines will lower fares if user fees are enacted?  I don't.

The majority of costs within the ATC system are due to the airline's hub system.  Here is a quote from the article I noted above. 

Travelers deal with more hassles than ever. In 2006, more passengers were bumped, their flights delayed or their bags lost than in 2005, according to the annual Airline Quality Rating report released earlier this month.

That statement is meant to get you to say, "Yeah, that's right."  OK, who bumps passengers?  GA?, Fatcats in Gulfstreams?  No.  Airlines. 

Why are flights delayed?  GA?,  Fatcats?  No.  Weather and scheduling too many aircraft to land at one time causes delays.  The current ATC system is more than adequate at delivering large numbers of airplanes to big airports.  The problem is, and anyone who has driven into a big city or construction area knows, things have to slow down at the concentration point.  Runways are the concentration points in this analogy.  We don't have enough of them in many of the big cities.  Many of the airports in these cities were not designed for 21st century traffic levels.  Satellites and all this other fancy stuff in Nexgen are cool, but it's all about the concrete.

The last point from the quote was that lost baggage was up.  I wouldn't be surprised if the FAA will have us smashing bags soon.  But we don't right now.  The airlines are losing your bags. 

How about the airlines as a business example.  Even with huge government susidies they are filing for bankruptcy at alarming rates.  I don't want these guys running ATC.  When they start losing money, they will cut back even more on GA services.  Check out the Euro-Fees Fears video at AOPA http://www.aopa.org/

AOPA isn't right all the time either.  They were wrong about supporting the privatization of FSS.  But they are right on with the user fee issue. 

w0x0f     
   
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w0x0f
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« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2007, 12:30:43 PM »

Here is what happens when airlines get involved in ATC safety issues.

http://www.wreg.com/Global/story.asp?s=6377744

This story became national news when this blog entry was made.

http://themainbang.typepad.com/blog/2007/04/cannibal_lecter.html

This is why ATC is inherently governmental and must remain independent of the special interests of airlines.  User fees provide a separate funding mechanism, outside of federal taxes, which will allow a private entity (airlines) to manage the system resources.  These vultures are waiting in the wings for this whole scam to go through.  Your safety will be compromised for profit.  See how many airline execs have walked away from broken companies with multi-million dollar golden parachutes while employees have their salaries and pensions slashed. 

  http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/02/ual_pension_probe.html
 http://blogs.usatoday.com/sky/2007/03/united_ceo_gets.html

w0x0f
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MathFox
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« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2007, 07:08:12 PM »

This discussion strayed a bit and touched the subject of ATC can/shoud be privatised. Technically there are no objections against a privately run ATC, but there is one snag; the ATC function must be a monopoly (for several reasons, mainly safety.) Experience has shown us that it's a bad idea to create commercial monopolies; the only sane thing is to make/keep ATC a government function.
Then the question arises: "who should pay for ATC?" I don't think it makes sense to have GA pay per flight. Paying an ATC tax "per plane" without counting actual use would make sense.
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w0x0f
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« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2007, 07:53:00 PM »

This discussion strayed a bit and touched the subject of ATC can/shoud be privatised. Technically there are no objections against a privately run ATC, but there is one snag; the ATC function must be a monopoly (for several reasons, mainly safety.) Experience has shown us that it's a bad idea to create commercial monopolies; the only sane thing is to make/keep ATC a government function.
Then the question arises: "who should pay for ATC?" I don't think it makes sense to have GA pay per flight. Paying an ATC tax "per plane" without counting actual use would make sense.

I am afraid that you are not looking at the larger picture.  The discussion hasn't strayed, I've just taken you a step beyond user fees.  Take the time to read my posts.  Read the links.  User fees are leading to the airlines controlling ATC.  That is not a good thing and anyone who boards an aircraft should be screaming from the rooftops.  Airline profits will come before safety.  GA pilots will not use the services of ATC because of costs.  Accidents will occur because of this. 

So technically, if you do the research, you should have major objections.

w0x0f 
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w0x0f
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2007, 09:40:33 AM »

Looks like I'm not the only one.  This was posted today.  I can't write as well as Don Brown, but it sure does sound familiar.  He and I think a lot alike.

http://gettheflick.blogspot.com/2007/04/other-shoe.html

w0x0f

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MathFox
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2007, 10:43:52 AM »

I am afraid that you are not looking at the larger picture.  The discussion hasn't strayed, I've just taken you a step beyond user fees.  Take the time to read my posts.  Read the links.  User fees are leading to the airlines controlling ATC.  That is not a good thing and anyone who boards an aircraft should be screaming from the rooftops.  Airline profits will come before safety.  GA pilots will not use the services of ATC because of costs.  Accidents will occur because of this. 

Sorry, the view over the Atlantic is a bit hazy... smiley Honestly, I've heard about the plans on LiveATC.Net; it's not something that reaches the ordinary press in Europe. Most people abroad won't be aware of the issues.
About air safety: The airlines have an interest to keep up the impression of safe transport. (Yes, they worked hard to make the risk of flying less that that of a car accident.) I would not expect them to play tricks with the safety of scheduled passenger flights. There are some tricks that could be played with competitors for scarce resources (GA planes using the same runways).

As a frequent flyer I have an interest in having a fit, well trained, properly paid controller guiding the plane I'm on safely to the destination gate. I know that costs some money; I'ld rather have my "passenger tax" spent on ATC than on those intimidating TSA goons near the metal detector that miss 90% of the guns and explosives that a "red team" brings in.
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digger
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2007, 12:36:42 PM »

Quote
About air safety: The airlines have an interest to keep up the impression of safe transport. (Yes, they worked hard to make the risk of flying less that that of a car accident.)


This may be straying from the topic a little but, I'm not certain that the airlines have voluntarily "worked hard to make the risk of flying less that that of a car accident", as much as they've been made to work hard in order comply with safety regulations that have been imposed upon them by authorities who have safety as their priority. As evidence, look at the number of air carrier accidents that occur in parts of the world that lack the strict oversight we here are accustomed to.

It's a matter of checks and balances, and to the point that the cost of decreased safety begins to impact their bottom line, for-profit entities will cut what they can to reduce costs. The margins of safety that accrue from concientious government oversight of the industry will shrink proportianally.

The same principle applies to the control of air traffic. There's a bean counter somewhere who already has an actuarial chart that shows how many lives can be lost to degraded ATC service before it becomes an economic liability. Some things cannot be left to those who are in it for profit. Aviation safety is one of those things...
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