A user fees system comparable to those constructed in Europe and Canada may affect aviation businesses and the safety of operations in America and other countries. Fees for common services such as landings, approaches, weather reports, flight plans, and certification, may provide an incentive not to utilize those services.
In the U.S., One alternative to the existing tax structure supported by the airlines is a fee-for-service system that would be more of a direct user fee system than what is in place now. Some industry observers claim that the FAA has been mulling the idea of a direct user fee structure to replace existing aviation taxes and fees, and an administration proposal has reportedly been under review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for some time. While the details of the proposal are unknown, speculation is that it will conform more closely to international standards that stipulate user fees be computed as some function of the specific impact on air traffic facilities and services, such as the commonly used fees based on aircraft weight and distance flown used by many nations.
- Reduction in flights and landings required to maintain proficiency
- Reduction of utilization of fee-for-service capabilities such as VFR flight following and IFR services
- Less attention to “safety critical” functions based on user fees
- Lack of positive air traffic control for aircraft electing not to utilize fee-based services.
New user fees for flight in Class B airspace would likely deter pilots from using certain airports and airspace near major metropolitan areas. Today, ATC user fees stymie general aviation around the world with huge costs to operate aircraft and, most importantly, insert cost considerations into critical safety decisions.
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