$100-Per-Flight Fee: Where Do You Stand?

Much has been made of the Obama administration’s plan to reorganize funding for air traffic control. General aviation has always paid for air traffic control through a fuel tax. Now, Obama plans to change that to a flat fee — $100 per flight.

This proposed fee, projected to raise $11 billion before 2022, was unveiled Sept.19, 2011. Every flight within controlled air space will be required to pay the fee, with the following exceptions:

  • Public aircraft
  • Military aircraft
  • Recreational piston aircraft
  • Air ambulances
  • Canada-to-Canada flights

Immediately after the proposed fee was announced, general aviation groups cried foul. The backlash comprises a few major arguments:

  • General aviation already pays for air traffic control with fuel tax.
  • Government should encourage general aviation as an economy-builder rather than adding fees.
  • More bureaucracy would be needed to collect the fee.

Some 9,000 individual opponents to the suggested $100-per-flight fee signed a petition demanding the White House  drop the proposal. They received their answer on Friday, Jan. 13, 2011, when the associate director of general governmental programs, Dana Hyde, repeated the White House opinion that the fee is necessary for air traffic control.

What do you think? Does the fee level the playing field or unfairly target business aviation? Does the current fuel-tax system work?

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