JetBlue Splits With ATA Over Methods To Calculate User Fees
JetBlue has declared its opposition to the Air Transport Association's FAA funding proposal and mounted its own campaign on Capitol Hill last week urging law makers to reject ATA's suggestions.
Carrier CEO Dave Barger sent letters to heads of pertinent committees in the House and Senate outlining JetBlue's arguments and declaring ATA's proposal "thinly veiled."
The airline takes exception to two aspects of ATA's proposal - the domestic distance tax and exemptions for the first 250 miles of a domestic flight.
JetBlue argues that ATA is opting to measure distance flown using a "great circle" calculation, rather than actual flight distances. A JetBlue spokeswoman noted that the rationale for using pure origin-and-destination mileage is for simplicity and ease of administration, but she noted that while, "it is 'easy,' it's also wrong.
JetBlue also takes issue with ATA characterizing the 250-mile exemption as a way to reduce the burden on smaller communities. The carrier argues ATA's plan exempts more than 25% of all domestic flights, including all the shuttle flights from New York City to Boston and Washington. Those flights alone, JetBlue said, produce more than 100 flights per day in each direction. While JetBlue supports a genuine small-community ATC fee exemption, "this disingenuous plan mocks the importance of small community air service," Barger said.
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