.The user fee plans advocated by airlines and the FAA would be devastating to small and medium-sized companies nationwide, said Richard Shine, CEO of Manitoba Recycling, a 60-person, family-owned company in Lancaster, NY, in testimony Thursday before the Senate Aviation Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure.
.”I represent a small business that operates a turboprop airplane to help my company survive, and my story is not unique,” Shine told the subcommittee. “The general aviation community of which I am a part supports modernization of our aviation system, and is willing to help pay for it. But we want to pay at the pump – not through user fees or new taxes. The fuel tax is a simple, proven and efficient way to measure and pay for system use for operators like me.”
Shine said an airplane, in his case a turbine-powered Mitsubishi MU-2, “has been the secret to our success. You don’t often hear about companies like mine in discussions of business aviation,” he said.
“Instead, the focus is always on big Fortune 500 companies. But I hope the members of this subcommittee understand that for every Fortune 500 company that relies on turbine powered business aviation, there are eight or nine companies like mine.”
.He then told the subcommittee about his personal experience with a user fee system, NavCanada, because his business is located near the Canadian border and he flies often into Canadian airspace.
.”Several weeks after a flight, NavCanada’s bureaucracy sends me an invoice,” Shine said. “If I’ve made multiple flights I get multiple invoices. I need to fill out a purchase order, cut a check, and put the check and the invoice back in the mail to NavCanada. Obviously, this imposes a significant, and hidden, administrative cost to my business.”
For Manitoba, and the thousands of similar businesses that run on a very narrow profit margin, Shine asked the subcommittee: “Why anyone would want to put this kind of burden on businesses like mine, when we already have a better and more efficient system in place?”
Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) commended Shine’s testimony and agreed with his conclusions.
.”Today, Richard Shine did a tremendous service in putting forth the true face of business aviation, representing America’s general aviation community, and demonstrating the real impact of user fees on a large number of American businesses,” said Bolen.
“As Richard Shine so articulately pointed out, this user fee plan would shift billions onto general aviation operators.”
.Bolen said, “We look forward to working cooperatively with members of the subcommittee in the Senate, and with the House to develop an effective plan to modernize our nation’s aviation system based on an equitable approach for all users.”