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Cessna Chief Calls Next Generation Air Traffic Management System Too Important for Funding Experimentation


Washington D.C. - Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jack J. Pelton said Wednesday during an aviation summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that the general aviation (GA) industry in the United States is too fragile and too important to the nation to allow experimentation on air traffic management funding options such as the one proposed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Cessna is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.

“We have the best system in the world,” Pelton said in remarks to more than 100 top government, business and aerospace leaders at the Washington event.

“Let’s not jeopardize it by taking a chance with a process that clearly has not worked in other countries. The economic fallout could be irreversible and devastating.”

Pelton said the GA community agrees with the FAA that the nation’s air traffic management system must change to meet projected growth, but called on industry and government to collaborate on finding funding solutions that don’t create a new government bureaucracy or place undue burdens on small-business owners who depend on GA aircraft.

The FAA, in coordination with financially ailing U.S. airlines, has proposed to Congress a new funding system based on drastically increased taxes and new user fees on general aviation aircraft to replace the current fuel tax system.

“Simply put, the FAA wants to dismantle the current funding mechanism, increase the tax on jet fuel by 220 percent and on aviation gas by 261 percent and incorporate a range of new user fees for general aviation,” Pelton said, “An evaluation of the current funding system shows little need for new revenue streams. Funding for the FAA has increased, not decreased, in the last decade.”

Pelton said the U.S. general aviation industry – which includes manufacturers, suppliers, support companies, airport facilities, and maintenance facilities around the country – accounted for 1.2 million jobs in 2006, with collective earnings of more than $53 billion. Also, general aviation contributes to a positive trade balance for the U.S. aerospace industry, with some 42 percent of total billings exported.

“I would argue that general aviation is an important national asset that keeps our economy strong, keeps our communities linked, and significantly enhances the quality of life in ways most people are not even aware of.” Pelton said.

“The debate being conducted here in Washington is critical to the future well-being of this American success story. The last thing we need right now is a grand experiment that has already proven to be a failure in other countries,” he said.

A full transcript of Jack J. Pelton’s speech to the Aviation Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. on April 4 can be accessed at:


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