As you may be aware, the FAA has been discussing its desire to impose “user fees” on users of the ATC system to help fund the National Airspace System (“NAS”) and make up for an alleged “gap” in the funding for the NAS. In response, the Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee authorized the DOT office of inspector general to conduct an investigation to determine “who currently uses the NAS, how that usage affects the FAA’s costs, and how closely the alternatives mirror use of FAA services.” The OIG issued a Memorandumannouncing its intention to conduct an audit of the users of the system to answer these questions.
The OIG’s objectives will be to determine: (1) Who uses the different elements of the NAS throughout a typical day; (2) Whether these users can be grouped in a meaningful manner based on system use; (3) How each group’s use of the system contributes to FAA’s costs; and (4) How good a proxy jet fuel consumption is for use of FAA air traffic services. Hopefully this will present a more accurate, unbiased assessment than has been propounded by the FAA and the airlines.
If you have any questions or would like more information regarding the audit, or if would like to provide your input, you may contact Stephen Smith at (202) 493-0448.