President Obama’s 2015 budget slaps aviation — again

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2015 is not one most in aviation will like. It again contains a $100 per flight fee for some GA flights —the same proposal that has been rejected in the past by Congress.

Only days before the budget was released, four members of Congress in positions important to general aviation sent a letter to the President urging him not to include the fee.

The budget also calls for $65 million cut in programs for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

These two issues brought immediate objections for aviation groups in Washington. In addition to the GA organizations, the Aerospace Industries Association expressed concern over cuts proposed for NextGen.

The $3.9 trillion budget is a $250 million increase over the one for fiscal year 2014.

Some political leaders suggest the budget is a political move in the election year.

Congress will take up the issue and changes are expected, giving the President and the Democratic Party an opportunity to blame a Republican majority in the House for any cuts that might be made.


  1. Mike says

    I’ve got an Idea! Lets install a Sun Pass/EZ Pass system on all of the FAA maintained systems! Its about time GA stops getting it for free!!!

  2. Paul J. says

    Well hello every one. I hope this dose not go through. I think there are several things
    that can go bad with this form of user fee’s. One if some one want to get around this
    they could just write the tail numbers of a few plains on the tar mat & give them to the
    ATC. & some one else will foot the bill. Two they could just make one up. there are moor
    I could think of but I think you get the picture. Also the price a gas pays for our system
    now. If the do this my guess is we will end up with paying both ways.

  3. Sarah A says

    My biggest problem with these attempts to extort money from GA is that we are not even the reason that they need all these expensive updates to the ATC system. It is the scheduled airlines (along with the package freight companies) that require this expensive and expansive system. The congregate at a limited number of hub airports creating great congestion and an ever increasing demand to expand the ATC system so they can cram even more flights into those few airports. When you look at GA, and that is all levels, then we are very spread out in our use of the ATC system. Just because we have some minor overlap there seems to be the perception that we need to make a sizable contribution to those bloated (and doomed to failure) expansions of the ATC system mentioned in the first comment posted. It is for the convenience of the public using the airlines that these programs are needed so they should sholder the cost. We would be fine with the 1930’s version of ATC considering our limited use and our fuel taxes could most likely fund that level of an ATC system, at least for those who actually need it. AN example is just how many ATC towers are truly needed to support GA operations ? They put those towers in to make the airliners safe (or at least provide that perception) but do the rest of use need them ? Maybe at a few larger airports the towers are needed but other then as a status symbol, a lot of the towers we have are not needed to begin with. If we got rid of this pointless local ATC infrastructure then we could better justify not getting stuck with a part of this modernization tab.

      • Sarah A says

        GA does pay its way, that is what the fuel taxes are all about. The problem is that the ATC system as we now have was created for the airlines, not us. To support the rapidly expanding ATC system and introduce new technology the government is looking for pockets to pick that do not have as much political clout as the airlines so the attention is on us. We do not need the expanded system and we do not want it, we are fine with what we have and are paying accordingly.

  4. ManyDecadesGA says

    While I share the valid GA concern about the imposition of a $100/flight fee in the near term, even that proposed fee is largely due to having to pay for an obsolete and vastly over-expensive and unnecessarily complex manually dependent ATC system. The FAA NAS is expensive because it is still trying to hand carry airplanes 1:1 with radar vectors, using 1930s and 1940s aircraft separation concepts. So the best thing that could probably happen to FAA’s budget is to cut NextGen funds, so as to help stop the FAA spending more money on a pending $40B+ NextGen failure. The present FAA NextGen concept is a waste of money due to it still being based on key flawed or obsolete NAV, COM, and ADS avionics and ground system concepts, such as “ADS based Pseudo Radar vectors”, using airspace wasting straight-in angular procedures (e.g. LPV). Worse, it adds regulatory mandates (e.g., WAAS based ADS) to install equipment for concepts that won’t even work, and especially not work at any reasonable cost. Failing NextGen is also perpetuating conceptually flawed marginally capable ATS systems at ARTCCs and TRACONs. Even if they’re implemented, then GA will just be stuck paying for both dysfunctional avionics, and already obsolete new ground systems (e.g., ERAM), even after they still don’t work to solve the operator’s and ATS’s needs. Instead, both NextGen and SESAR need to be reassessed, and reconfigured, to dump wasteful unnecessary obsolete concepts like WAAS, LPV, and using ADS-B as “Pseudo-radar” for vectors, for what is instead really needed, for future economic and inclusive global ATS, based on concepts like RNP, and dynamic automated 4-D trajectory based separation. That is the only way GA will ever be able to afford ATS separation services, be assured of broad continued airspace access, and the only way UAVs will ever be successfully integrated into the global INAS. It is also the only way business aviation and the airlines will ever have the needed airport capacity and schedule reliability, to accommodate significant adverse weather, at anything close to affordable cost.

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