FAA Causes Uproar With Tax Talk

With more planes in the sky, the agency and the airlines are pushing to end the ticket tax and find a way to redistribute the burden of funding air traffic control.


Poole advocates a system similar to the one he worked on for Canada in the 1980s, where airlines and business jets pay fees based on a combination of the weight of the plane and the distance traveled.

Poole recently studied how those fees would affect the bottom lines of business jets, based on typical planes and flying habits.

A Lear 60 that pays $22,000 a year in fuel taxes would pay $47,000 in fees under the Canadian model.

The change would whack the bottom lines of corporate jets, but it wouldn't mean much to jets that are in charter or fractional ownership programs.

The same jet that's part of a fractional service already collects $63,000 per year in ticket taxes, Poole said.

The same jet in a charter program pays $98,000 per year.

The business aviation group, which represents everyone from piston-engine to Lear jet fliers, has not exactly embraced Poole and his recommendations.

Poole, who said he gets no money from the airlines, said the Air Transport Association might not have realized when it began its campaign that some jets were already collecting the ticket tax.

The main benefit to the airlines is to eliminate its unintended subsidy of the regional carriers while generating more money for upgrading air traffic control.

"They see that as a big, big advantage," Poole said of the airlines. "And they're right. That's why all these other countries have done it."

Don't think the 7.5 percent line item would disappear from airline ticket receipts: The cost of any new fees would be built into fares, Poole said.

He is not the only one who foresees a compromise.

Fred Watts, manager of the Venice Municipal Airport, wants to see Congress take up the funding quandary so the FAA can keep paying for things like runway resurfacing in Venice.

If Venice gets a grant, the city would provide only $125,000 of the estimated $5 million cost.

The resurfacing is important to keeping jet traffic, which Watts guessed accounts for 15 percent of the roughly 173,000 takeoffs and landings at the airport each year.

"Despite the gnashing of teeth and the difference of opinions, we have no choice but to come together as an aviation community and make this happen."

WHAT'S THE ISSUE?

The Federal Aviation Administration says airline ticket taxes aren't generating enough to pay its bills and wants a new system that could be more expensive for owners of small aircraft.

Small aircraft owners and pilots are fighting the airlines over the change, which could occur with the new Congress.

The FAA's taxing authority expires Sept. 30, which has implications for everyone in the system.



News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.

We Recommend

  • News

    Fight Brewing over FAA's Funding

    The bill, which is yet to be introduced, would shift some of the burden for funding the FAA from commercial airline passengers to private plane and jet operators.

  • News

    Fight Brewing over FAA's Funding

    The bill, which is yet to be introduced, would shift some of the burden for funding the FAA from commercial airline passengers to private plane and jet operators.

  • News

    New Coalition Protests FAA Fee Plan for Small Plane Owners

    The Alliance for Aviation Across America argued at a briefing Tuesday that the FAA's plan would harm rural communities, small airports, flying enthusiasts, flight schools, charities and small...

  • Press Release

    New Coalition Protests FAA Fee Plan for Small Plane Owners

    The Alliance for Aviation Across America argued at a briefing Tuesday that the FAA's plan would harm rural communities, small airports, flying enthusiasts, flight schools, charities and small...