If you were one of the nearly 9,000 people that signed an online White House petition opposing an aviation user fee, you may have received the White House’s response via email last week. Not surprisingly, the administration used the opportunity to justify its desire to impose a $100 per flight fee on many segments of aviation. While their plan is still vague—at one time they described an exemption for “recreational” aviation; more recently they said they would exempt “piston aircraft”—the fact is that all of the aviation community should be opposed to the concept. Once approved, and following the creation of new FAA offices to track, invoice and collect the fee, any “exempted” aviation segments are sure to face the fee later on. The good news is that aviation has many friends in Congress; lawmakers who understand the importance of a thriving aviation system, and who agree that a per-flight fee is counterproductive. Congress has repeatedly beat back similar user fee proposals before, and will be called upon to do so again at the proper time.
USPA has reached out to the other aviation associations to join their coalition and help fight user fees. We do so not just because a $100 per flight fee on turbine jump planes will dramatically increase the cost of a jump ticket, but because the whole concept of charging operators for each flight will throttle aviation’s efficiency, reduce flying and cost jobs. Jump operators, like all operators, currently pay a federal tax on each gallon of fuel burned, and all want to keep it that way. So stand by and be prepared to voice your concerns to your legislator at the appropriate time. We’ll let you know the very day that is needed.