Fri July 5, 2013
Organizers Of Oshkosh Airshow Dispute Bill For Air Traffic Control With FAA
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the organizer of the country's largest airshow, is in a dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The EAA is contesting a bill for the services of air traffic controllers.
In May the FAA sent a bill to the EAA demanding nearly $500,000 for the services of air traffic controllers. It's the first time the EAA has been asked to pay. The administration says it is because of budget issues tied to “sequestration.”
It takes 87 FAA staff to keep things safe over the Oshkosh skies during the annual AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in. EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski says the EAA signed the contract under protest and has now filed a petition appealing it the bill to a federal appeals court in Chicago.
Knapinski: “We did sign that contract, had it negotiated down to $447,000. But we did include a letter of protest saying we don't believe this is right. We don't believe FAA is authorized to do this.”
Knapinski says controllers are funded by things like ticket or fuel taxes.
Knapinski: “If there is a multi-day bump, say, in a commercial airport — whether it's in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, [or] wherever — more controllers are scheduled at that time. The airline ticket tax is not raised; the airport is not charged for it. The FAA simply provides staff where the airplanes are. Well, in late July the airplanes are in Oshkosh.”
Knapinski expects at least 10,000 planes for the fly-in, which begins on July 29. He says the petition will be resolved later and that pilots shouldn't notice any delays during the event.