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Author Topic: How do all of you feel about user fees for GA?  (Read 10238 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.

Quote
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
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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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The Hoffspatcher
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2007, 11:13:02 PM »

I did a little research based on the situation presented by AOPA of somebody cancelling IFR, encountering IMC and needing IFR and to land at an airport using ILS using services of the various fee based ATC systems:


NavCanada: Free IFR services but may have a landing fee, ARFF/RFFS included.  Guy at the FSS was most helpful eh. 

Airservices Australia:  Pay for filing, pay for IFR services, pay for approach AND pay for ARFF/RFFS!  They wanted to charge me for the call too

Airways New Zealand:  Free to file IFR flight plan online but you need to pay for the IFR services.  Couldn't garner any specifics about approach or landing fees.  Not a great bunch of call center people there, they only "kinda" knew what I was talking about.


I feel bad for you guys in Europe.  That system is just crazy, every flight plan I generate comes up with a ton of restrictions on why I have to generate another ten for the same route so I can get one with no restrictions, then there's the weather, curfew, holds etc, yuck!

I am against the idea of having to pay for IFR services if you NEED them - ie cancelling IFR and going VFR only to return to IMC.  If you WANT them, well, I WANT cable TV so I pay a cable bill so if I WANT to fly the ILS in VMC then you should pay.

I hate to sound like a villian but I liken it to paying for tolls on the bridges and tunnels when you want to drive upstate and see your Grandma. 

Airservices Australia charge (USD) between $2 and $17 for an instrument approach and landing depending on where you are.  You can also pay $60 a year (USD) for 8-50 flights in a "light aircraft" using "terminal navigation services"
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Ben Hoffman; BAv, ADX
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athaker
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2007, 11:51:00 PM »

Here's a recent article on CNN.com the other day that I read, and realized just now that its relevant here.  Has to do with subsidizing of small airports.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/04/16/ticket.taxes.ap/index.html





Good topic, btw
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Jason
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2007, 07:14:59 AM »

Here's a recent article on CNN.com the other day that I read, and realized just now that its relevant here.  Has to do with subsidizing of small airports.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/04/16/ticket.taxes.ap/index.html

Good topic, btw

That AP article has received a lot of criticism since it was first published (and rightfully so) due to the countless inaccuracies clearly inserted into the article.  Take a look at how AOPA and NBAA responded; I'm happy to see them respond appropriately.  Hopefully once the press realizes how different the story really is, they can start telling the truth.
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EivlEvo
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2007, 11:08:23 AM »

I just wanted to say that you guys are all my heroes.

I'll probably be using a bunch of these in class. Don't worry... I'll pass along the correct citations. (Not the jets though.... can't afford that hot action)

Looks like im not alone and THAT ROCKS!

~DAVE
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athaker
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« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2007, 05:21:05 PM »

nice jason.

thanks for posting the responses to the article.  I had heard about them but couldn't find the sources.
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w0x0f
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2007, 11:01:02 PM »

Private jets use Newark, delay commercial flights
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

By DAVID A. MICHAELS
STAFF WRITER


Teterboro Airport's flood-related closure has forced more private jets to land at Newark Liberty International Airport, causing delays for commercial passengers and upsetting the airport's largest carrier, officials said Tuesday.

Continental Airlines complained that its on-time arrival rate at Newark fell to 22 percent on Monday because of increased traffic from Teterboro, said Russ Halleran, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Newark Liberty. Teterboro has been closed since Monday because of flooding on its runways and taxiways.

"It is definitely affecting the arrivals into Newark," Halleran said. "They [Continental] were a little displeased with what happened yesterday [Monday], and it's apparently happening today [Tuesday]."

Julie King, a Continental spokeswoman in Houston, said the extra traffic at Newark is causing dealys.
 
"We know the ATC [air traffic control] is going the best job they can, yet the additional unscheduled demand that these corporate jets are putting on the system means more delays for the traveling public," she said.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
I got that from the Bergen Record.  http://www.bergenrecord.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDgmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTcxMTUxNzImeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXky

I wonder where the corporate jets would have to land if the airlines were running things?  Check out the comments by the COA rep.  She talks about the corporate jets like they are pests that you can smash with your foot.  The airlines can't deal with the current first come first serve policy of ATC.  They demand priority.  She doesn't realize that the corporate jets are carrying the "traveling public" too.  More than likely they are making major business decisions which effect our economy also.  Airlines and the current administration do not see the benefits of GA.

w0x0f

« Last Edit: April 19, 2007, 11:02:53 PM by w0x0f » Logged
EivlEvo
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« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2007, 03:19:26 PM »

With teh whole TEB issue the thing that fires me up the most is that whenever the airlines are late all they can do is talk about weather. Weather weather weather, and you know what its just cause. But now an airport that they rarely (if ever) use has to shut down for weather and Continental (I assume the company moreso than the pilots) decides that "thats there problem" and they should be afforded rights to land ahead of corporate jets. Its very displeasing to see the extreme lack of apparent professionalism demonstrated on part of that airline since we ALL know that if EWR had to shut down and they diverted to TEB or even JFK or LGA it would be totally justifiable.

The other issue regarding the GA user fees that i really wanted to get out is that I think its totally ridiculous for GA to have to have fees imposed on services simply because we're being charged for something that is more or less in place to keep us out of the airlines hair. I mean honestly if I have to start paying a user fee to get a weather briefing, Im going to be using the computer for free. If I have to pay for Air traffic control services, Im going to start renting Cessna 150's and flying at Vso on final into JFK to practice touch and gos. Because if they really want to play the game and say that we use the funding that they have to charge people more than they do, then goddamnit Im going to make it happen.

How often are we all listening on here and hear ANY GA traffic into a SOLID 70% of these airports. Now while I DO recognize that GA probably is getting a good portion of the funding that the airlines have to charge, I still don't see for a second how its proportional enough for them to say, "we want to cut the tax off of our tickets completely, and have every GA aircraft pay for this that and their moms"

Not to mention you know for a FACT that if they're charging a 10% tax and that fee gets removed completely the price is only going to go down by 7%.

GOD it makes me mad.

~DAVE
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