For Immediate Release
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Washington, DC – The Air Transport Association (ATA), the trade association representing the major commercial airlines, is at it again, recently running deceptive new advertisements in airports around the country on the CNN Airport Network. Unfortunately, this ad is just the latest thinly veiled attempt by the airlines to garner support for another billion dollar tax cut that they will not pass on to consumers.
The ad begins by stating that “America’s air traffic controllers are using 1950’s technology” and then cuts to executives in a small jet drinking champagne on their way to a golf outing – an image that is clearly intended to suggest that corporate CEOs and jets comprise the majority of general aviation flights. This is directly misleading given that the jets seen in the commercial comprise only 4% of all general aviation aircraft, and vast majority of general aviation aircraft are used for small businesses, agricultural uses, and providing other crucial services to small communities that the airlines do not serve.
The ad then continues to blame general aviation for increased congestion in the air traffic control system, stating that “now there are twice as many corporate aircraft as commercial planes using the air traffic control systemÉ” The truth is that since 1980, commercial airline flights have tripled, while general aviation (GA) flights have remained constant. Not only that, FAA data show that GA aircraft account for a mere 4% of all airline traffic at the nation’s ten busiest airports, and Ken Mead, the former Inspector General at DOT, has stated that the effort by the giant commercial airlines to “blame general aviation” is “inaccurate and not borne out by the facts.”
Here are the real facts behind the airlines’ smokescreen:
|Narrator:“America’s air traffic controllers are using 1950’s technologyÉ”||The FAA Has Already Begun Modernization Activities and GA Has Been at the Forefront pf the Modernization Effort.FAA’s reauthorization proposal supported by the airlines, however, would CUT funding by at least $600 million, according to the Administration.1|
|Narrator:“Paid for with a 1970’s Funding FormulaÉ,”||The Excise Tax System Funding the FAA Has Worked Well for 40 Years and is Anticipated to Increase Revenues Over the Coming Years.The Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have both testified to Congress that under the current excise tax system, forecasted revenues into the Aviation Trust Fund will cover the FAA’s anticipated spending to modernize the Air Traffic Control system.2|
|Narrator: “When corporate jets were virtually unknown.”
Actor: “Tara, make sure our tee-time is confirmed.”
Visual Image:A busy air traffic control tower is pictured followed by the image cutting to executives drinking champagne on their way to golf.The image is intended to suggest that corporate jets comprise the majority of general aviation flights.In Fact, Only 4% of General Aviation Aircraft are of the Jet Category Seen in the Advertisement, According to the FAA.3 The vast majority of general aviation aircraft are used for small businesses, agricultural uses, and providing other services to communities that the airlines don’t bother to serve.Narrator: “Now there are twice as many corporate aircraft as commercial planes using the air traffic control systemÉ”According to the FAA, the Number of Commercial Aviation Flights Has Tripled Since 1980, While the Number of GA Flights Has Remained Constant. FAA data also show that GA aircraft account for a mere 4% of all airline traffic at the nation’s ten busiest airports.4 Ken Mead, the widely respected former Inspector General at DOT, has said the effort by the giant commercial airlines to “blame general aviation” is “inaccurate and not borne out by the facts.”Narrator: “And being subsidized by airline passenger ticket taxes.”
Narrator: “Log on, tell Congress you support SmartSkies and no subsidies for corporate jets.”The Fact is that Airline Attacks on Other Aviation Users are Just a False Justification for Another Huge Tax Break – Breaks that History Shows Aren’t Shared With Passengers. According to the DOT Inspector General, the FAA reauthorization bill endorsed by the airlines would decrease their tax burden by over $1 billion, and the GAO warned Congress in 2004 that airlines do not pass on tax savings to their passengers.5 Airline management and their lobbyists have even said publicly that they are looking to improve their bottom line by this proposal.6
1. The Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2007 – Analytical Perspectives.
2. Hearings, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S. House of Representatives, September 27, 2006 and March 21, 2007.
3. FAA: General Aviation and Air Taxi Activity and Avionics (GAATAA) Surveys CY2005, Table 1-2.
4. FAA’s Annual Aviation and Aerospace Forecasts Published 1989 through 2005 using historical information published as part of the forecast documents, Table 22 (1989), Table 27 (1995), Table 31 (2000), Table 36 (2005); FAA: OPSNET traffic count data for all towered airports in 2006.
5. FAA’s Financing Proposal, Statement of Calvin L. Scovel III, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation, before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S. House of Representatives, March 21, 2007; Summary Analysis of Federal Commercial Aviation Taxes and Fees, U.S. Government Accountability Office, March 12, 2004.
6. “Airlines to lobby for revamp of FAA funding next year,” Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, December 26, 2006.