Private Jet Charter Brokerage Helps NBAA Oppose Hikes in FAA User Fees

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Imperial Jets, a private jet charter brokerage based out of New York City, joined the NBAA - National Business Aviation Association - in an effort to stop a FAA - Federal Aviation Administration - proposal to increase government user fees on private jet travel.

Unlike a discrete user fee, which can easily be set at different levels based on the type of facility used, it would be administratively burdensome to charge different fuel tax rates based on the facilities used.

The FAA has made a congressional proposition to hike up private jet travel fuel taxes from 21.8 cents per gallon to 70 cents per gallon. The same proposal will eliminate and reduce several commercial airline excise taxes, reducing the net tax burden for commercial users, according to the FAA.

FAA Administrator, Marion C. Blakey states, however, that commercial airline travel accounts for "about 73 percent of the cost of the air traffic system." Why should private jet travelers have to pay more taxes than the airlines for a service that is mostly used by the commercial airlines? Most general aviation flights - private jet charter flights - arrive and depart at fixed based operators with low air traffic activity that doesn't require or use FAA or FAA contracted air traffic control services.

The FAA states: "Unlike a discrete user fee, which can easily be set at different levels based on the type of facility used, it would be administratively burdensome to charge different fuel tax rates based on the facilities used." Thus commercial airlines and general aviation both pay 13.6 cents per gallon of jet fuel to fund the Airport Improvement Program. Only general aviation, nonetheless, pays an additional 56.4 cent common fuel tax rate due to projected industry growth by fiscal year 2009. Is the FAA charging general aviation for industry growth in the commercial airline sector? The FAA states that the funding plan will finance "NextGen" air traffic control and technology that will relieve all the congestion and delays in commercial airline airports. GA airports aren't plagued with congestion and delays.

Further, the FAA wants to charge a terminal fee to general aviation operators when they arrive or depart at one of the 30 largest hub airports. The NBAA states that at the 35 most congested and heavily trafficked airports, to which most of the FAA's funds and resources are allocated, general aviation accounts for just "six percent of total operations."

Other fees that will make private jet travel more expensive include higher user fees for aircraft registration, airmen certificates, airmen medical certificates, certificates for flight schools and training centers, certificates for repair stations and maintenance technical schools, designee appointment and training, training provided to international aviation authorities. The FAA states that these fees mostly affect general aviation.

Imperial Jets is giving its website visitors a portal to a NBAA Online Form that helps people who oppose the proposal structure a letter to their congress representatives. Once a user who opposes the FAA proposal enters his/her name, address, and zip code, the form creates a letter with the user's information. When the user submits the letter after further editing and approval, the system determines which congressmen represent the user by way of his/her zip code and sends the letter to the congressmen via email.

"This affects us, as it raises the cost of private jet travel that will incur an additional cost to our customers," argued Howard Gollomp, President and CEO of Imperial Jets.

NBAA spokesperson, Dan Hubbard, stated other aviation groups like respected members of Beech aircraft clubs and aviation themed chatrooms are also allied with the NBAA in voicing their opposition to the new FAA funding plan. "This will have a trickle down effect all the way from the top to the bottom of the industry," explained Hubbard.

Imperial Jets secures luxury charter air travel on a light, mid, super-mid, or heavy sized private jet to and from any location on the planet.

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NEAL RODRIGUEZ
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