Airlines Would Enjoy Cut In Fuel Tax; VFR Piston Pilots Would
Get A Break
It's different... but it sure
doesn't appear that much better.
The Hill newspaper reports the FAA funding reauthorization bill
to be introduced before the Senate this week, by Senators Jay
Rockefeller and Trent Lott, would phase out a 4.3 cent per gallon
tax airlines pay for fuel... while also introducing a new per-trip
fee for piston and turbine general aviation pilots who fly under
IFR flight plans.
Under the Senate bill, the FAA would be authorized to "impose a
surcharge of $25 [per IFR flight] for air traffic control costs,"
according to the April 27 staff draft cited by sources.
Conversely, piston-powered aircraft pilots who fly under visual
flight rules would not -- repeat, NOT -- be affected by any
additional fees, unlike the FAA's proposal. To offset that loss,
turbine pilots would see a steep hike in fuel taxes, from 21 cents
per gallon to 49 cents per gallon, under the Senate bill.
The Hill states such changes give lawmakers some relief against
arguments the FAA's bill unfairly targets planes used for farming,
or medical care in smaller communities. Flight training operations
would also get a break, according to the legislative newspaper, at
least under visual flight conditions.
The Senate's bill would not replace current airline passenger
ticket taxes with user fees.
Already, one industry source tells The Hill the Senate bill
represents a "huge giveaway" to commercial airlines. It would also
seem the Senate -- which the paper states is traditionally more
friendly to the airlines, as opposed to the private-sector-oriented
House -- is attempting to split general aviation into two groups:
turbine pilots (who would pay more) and piston operators (who would
now pay less.)
That strategy probably won't work, however... as the unnamed
source cited by the paper states, just as before, GA groups
representing all segments would present a united front in opposing
the Senate bill.