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Stats And Facts On FAA Funding  
User currently offlineTeleBlue From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 6 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1966 times:

There has been lots of talk in the recent few weeks about FAA funding. There are many good points made in the postings, but lots of data and statistics are missing from these conversations. Let's review what we've got on the table thus far. There are three major players in the debate.

Here are the facts from the airline perspective (ATA):
> Airlines and their passengers pay 94% of the taxes and fees that support the ATC system
> Airlines account for 68% of the traffic in the ATC system.
> "A blip is a blip." Each blip on the screen should pay the same amount for ATC system use.
> Learn more at http://www.smartskies.org/LearningCenter/faa_funding/

Here are the facts from the business jet perspective (NBAA):
> Business jets don't fly into the big airports, and therefore we shouldn't have to pay the same amount as airlines
> It is the big hubs that drive much of the ATC system's costs
> Smaller planes require fewer dollars to control.
> User fees (of any sort) would compromise safety.
> Learn more at http://web.nbaa.org/public/govt/userfees/

Here are the facts from the recreational aviation perspective (AOPA):
> New ATC charges (of any sort, including an increase in the existing gas taxes) will damage the GA sector
> ATC cost increases in other parts of the world have been damaging (Europe)
> Safety would be compromised by a change in how FAA is funded.
> Learn more at http://www.aopa.org/faafundingdebate/

One thing all the groups agree upon is the need to modernize the ATC system. What they can't agree upon is who should pay for modernization, and what a "fair share" really represents.

The airlines' strength is that they're fundamentally correct that they (and their passengers) pay the lion's share of the ATC system. This is proven by FAA's March 2007 study entitled "Cost Allocation of the ATC System." It can be found here: http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=8147. Notice the chart halfway down the page, which attributes 73% of traffic to "turbine commercial" activity. "Turbine commercial" refers to airplanes flying in the ATC system (ie. IFR) who are powered by turbine engines and involve a financial transaction. Therefore, this category includes airlines and any business jet/turboprop which was hired for service. If you speak with FAA (and this isn't on their web site) you'll learn that the 73% breaks down to 68% airline and 5% business-jet-for-hire.

Additionally, the cost allocation study indicates that an additional 10% of traffic comes from "Turbine General Aviation." This would be an aircraft owned by a corporation, which is NOT for hire. So the Nike corporate jet (N1KE for you afficionados) would fit into this category.

One of the key topics of debate in a.net threads is the airport that these aircraft use (and this gets to NBAA's key point.) The reality is that it costs FAA an average of about $440 to move each IFR operation through the system. (source: FAA OEP 2005). ARTCC controllers in Cleveland Center don't use different procedures to handle the transcontinental G-IV or the transcon 767. I would content that airport selection is irrelevant. This can easily be proved by watching this simulation: http://www.smartskies.org/ATA/images/NYBOS/nybos.html which shows traffic departing from Boston and New York ARTCC areas, bound for Jacksonville and Miami ARTCC areas. What's particulary notable about the simulation is that it was recorded at a peak time - President's Day weekend.

Business jets (and those who fly them) are no different from airline passengers; they need to fly at premium times such as Monday morning, Friday afternoon and around holidays. So while it is true that airlines are the predominant users of the ATC system on an annualized basis, it is also true that GA turbine traffic spikes at those key times.

When thinking about AOPA's claims, it is important to note that piston-powered airplanes have been asked to pay a few cents more for their gas tax, but have been EXEMPTED from other ATC user fees of any sort. Recently, AOPA has been complaining about the service their members have been receiving from Lockheed Martin's Flight Service Stations. As a GA pilot in the Washington, DC area, I can attest that AOPA's claims are not unfounded.

However, I believe that you get what you pay for. How can AOPA complain that service is sub-par and then ask for improved service without a correlating increase in price? I spend about $100 an hour to operate my plane (N20155), and a typical itinerary (300 miles roundtrip) for me would require that I pay about $6 more per flight. If FAA can carry through on their modernization plans, this $6 would be a wise investment on my part; one that I would happily make.

This brings up the final topic I would like to mention: governance of the ATC system. FAA has spent around $38 billion to modernize the system since 1984 (check out http://www.reason.org/airtraffic/ for Bob Poole's excellent analysis of this issue, and many others). The reality is that past modernization efforts have been dreadful. Part of the reason is that the users of the ATC system don't have a seat at the decision-making table. By giving users (both airlines and general aviation) a fair "say" in modernization decisions, we stand a much better chance of getting our hands on a new ATC system (FAA calls this NextGen.) Local Congressional concerns have driven ATC's infrastructure decisions over the years, which hasn't necessarily resulted in the most efficient expenditures of funds.

At the end of the day, the airlines (and their pax) will continue to pay the most for use of the ATC system. And that makes sense, given their operations. But the reality here is that if you believe that everyone should pay their fair share, some change is in order. I would welcome any discussion of "facts" or statistics...

5 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBoeing7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1945 times:

Quoting TeleBlue (Thread starter):
Business jets don't fly into the big airports, and therefore we shouldn't have to pay the same amount as airlines

Well, we know this claim is bogus.  Smile


User currently offlineBigJimFX From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 321 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1927 times:

Quoting TeleBlue (Thread starter):
When thinking about AOPA's claims, it is important to note that piston-powered airplanes have been asked to pay a few cents more for their gas tax, but have been EXEMPTED from other ATC user fees of any sort. Recently, AOPA has been complaining about the service their members have been receiving from Lockheed Martin's Flight Service Stations. As a GA pilot in the Washington, DC area, I can attest that AOPA's claims are not unfounded.

Thanks for the additional insight. Especially coming from the nations capitol. However.... According to the AOPA's website (http://www.aopa.org/faafundingdebate/) 366% is hardly "a few cents more". They also have a calculator to illustrate the rise in fuel costs for the average GA pilot. (Avgas, and JetA) Guestimation on a piston A/C burning 10 GPH flying 100 hrs a yr = $507.00. This is just how much MORE it will cost. Flying is already a very expensive hobby. This will cause a domino effect for rental aircraft, Flight Schools, Flying Clubs, CAP..etc.

The kicker here is that the new system brings in less money than the previous one. We are all feeling the pinch @ the pump. Be you a Rec. pilot, Commercial operator, or even the Sunday driver. This can only make things worse. This is simply a desperate push by airlines who have dug themselves a hole SO deep, the only way out is to blame someone else, beat them to a bloody pulp with a shovel, and keep digging.

Does anyone really think that if this goes into effect and relieves the pressure on the airlines that you will see lower fares, and better service. Not a snowballs chance in H, E, Double Hockey sticks. Unfortunately, most legacies will use this to actually make a profit. Some MAY share some of the wealth (Kudos to Delta....And the employees they decided to keep) so you may see an extra smile or two. But the omelet for breakfast, that extra inch or two of leg room, and the occasional free drink in coach are gone, and never coming back. At least not on a legacy.

Ok I'm done... sorry
Jimbo



I'd like to thank me for flying Me Airways...
User currently offlineBoeing7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1925 times:

Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 2):
However.... According to the AOPA's website (http://www.aopa.org/faafundingdebate/) 366% is hardly "a few cents more". They also have a calculator to illustrate the rise in fuel costs for the average GA pilot. (Avgas, and JetA) Guestimation on a piston A/C burning 10 GPH flying 100 hrs a yr = $507.00. This is just how much MORE it will cost. Flying is already a very expensive hobby. This will cause a domino effect for rental aircraft, Flight Schools, Flying Clubs, CAP..etc.



Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 2):
The kicker here is that the new system brings in less money than the previous one.



Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 2):
Does anyone really think that if this goes into effect and relieves the pressure on the airlines that you will see lower fares, and better service.

These comments do not relate to the FAA proposal, they relate to a convoluted proposal by Lott and Rockefeller.


User currently offlineBigJimFX From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 321 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1918 times:

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 3):
These comments do not relate to the FAA proposal, they relate to a convoluted proposal by Lott and Rockefeller.

http://www.senate.gov/~rockefeller/news/2007/pr050307.html

No sir... Just common sense. I'm a GA Pilot. I hold a private license with instrument rating. I also work with and around airline employees, management, and airport employees and management. What I said was strictly an observation of what I've seen and experienced. To tell you the truth... I have never read the above document until you brought it to my attention.
It is possible that being a memeber of the AOPA, and subscribing to some magazines... or should I say "Propaganda" wouldn't be towing the line. But there's a reason people come here from all over the world to get their flight training... And it's not just because the official language for aviation is english.



I'd like to thank me for flying Me Airways...
User currently offlineBoeing7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1879 times:

Quoting BigJimFX (Reply 4):
No sir... Just common sense. I'm a GA Pilot. I hold a private license with instrument rating. I also work with and around airline employees, management, and airport employees and management. What I said was strictly an observation of what I've seen and experienced. To tell you the truth... I have never read the above document until you brought it to my attention.
It is possible that being a memeber of the AOPA, and subscribing to some magazines... or should I say "Propaganda" wouldn't be towing the line. But there's a reason people come here from all over the world to get their flight training... And it's not just because the official language for aviation is english.

I work in airport development (all forms) and deal with airport funding issues among other things daily. The bill is dead in it's rediculous form as of last week.

FAA proposal:

Pipline fuel increase (.70 cents - not applicable to facilities where fuel is delivered to the airport by truck - ie targets jet/tuboprops at large airports where a pipeline exists)
No change in piston fuel tax, phased out in 2017
Non pipeline jet A increases to around 21 cents, then increases to offset piston in 2017
Handling fees for using top 30 airports to all users (based on peak demand)
Increase in Air Carrrier fuel tax
Ability for congested airports to impose aircraft capacity limits or a fixed landing fee at peak times to encourage the use of larger aircraft.

Lott/Rockefeller proposal:

Phases out Air Carrier fuel tax and 7.5% pax ticket tax (completely stupid)
Increase in all GA fuel tax to 49 cents a gallon
$25 user fee for all flights

It doesn't provide enough funding and places disproportional amount of burden on GA. However, the bill does now hold a slot and will be amended then re-introduced in a form that actually funds the system properly.

[Edited 2007-05-16 21:35:54]

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