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A report on national airspace usage by the US Department of Transportation (DOT) shows that business jets are not paying enough in proportion for their use of air traffic control (ATC) services, says the Air Transport Association (ATA).
The funding system for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ” which runs the American ATC - is up for review as the current one expired on 30 September 2007 (it has since been extended until 30 June) and the ATA wants it altered.
”In today's system for the FAA fund, a US passenger on an airline pays 7.5% ticket tax and in addition is charged $3.40 (”1.70) for every segment (flight) on a journey, plus the airline pays a fuel tax,” an ATA spokesman told ABTN.
”But business jets pay purely a fuel tax ” and there”s an inequity there. The airlines use about 66% of the FAA service, but they and their passengers are paying 90% of revenues going into the FAA fund. Corporate jets use around 17% of the service, but pay for 3% - what they”re paying into the system doesn”t cover the cost that they”re imposing on it.”
The National Business Aviation Association argues that corporate aircraft tend to avoid larger airports used by commercial carriers, but the ATA says they contribute significantly to air traffic congestion in busy metrolpolitan areas.
More than half (53%) of business jet operations occurred at the top third (162) most-active towered airports according to the DOT report, with their peak flight times coinciding with those of the commercial airlines ” accounting for ”20% to 30% of peak approach operations at the New York tower”, for example.
”And unlike the scheduled airlines, they don”t have to file flight plans in advance, so controllers have no idea how many will be flying ” they can stress the system as much as they like, and that”s fine, but if they”re going to do that they should pay,” said the spokesman.
Disproportionate growth in business aviation in the last few decades has made this an issue he said, with ten times the amount of US business jets flying in 2006 (18,000) than there were in 1970, and projections that 32,000 will be in operation by US carriers by 2020.
”There is talk of record sales of jets, because people don”t want to deal with the hassles of commercial air travel. Well, if you”re able to pay $50m for a private jet, you should pay fairly for the ATC that you use.
”The future of air travel depends not only on an upgraded ATC system, but on a fair and equitable funding system to pay for it. It is time for Congress to stop forcing the passenger in seat 28B to subsidise business jet travel,” he said.