9:36 AM

Big Airlines Doing
Just Fine Without
a Tax Break


As Oshkosh gets cranked up this year, the one issue that is front and center on everyone's mind is the impending FAA reauthorization, and the many versions of legislation that are floating around The Hill. AOPA – as do I – supports the House bill, and you should too:

One bill in the House of Representatives — H.R.2881, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007 — would pay for air traffic control modernization (NextGen), would continue a robust airport aid program, and continue an efficient tax system that fairly distributes FAA funding costs among all aviation users. And it has no user fees.
The Senate version of the reauthorization gives Bush's Big Airline buddies a gift that they do not need:
The Senate version of an FAA funding bill (S.1300), created by the Senate Commerce Committee, proposes giving the airlines a $500 million tax break by eliminating the 4.3 cents per gallon airline fuel tax.
Giving away handouts like this to gigantic corporations who lavish their CEOs with millions in compensation while laying off Gate Agents would be fine if they were still struggling to scrape themselves up off the bankruptcy court floor. But today, Associated Press reported that things are looking way, way up for Big Airlines:
United parent UAL Corp. on Tuesday reported its most profitable quarter in seven years, a $274 million second-quarter profit that reflected increased capacity on international routes as well as fuller U.S. flights and lower costs. JetBlue Airways Corp. also posted solid second-quarter earnings, showing a 50 percent profit increase. Among other U.S. carriers in the latest quarter, American Airlines parent AMR Corp. posted a $317 million profit last week; Delta Air Lines earned $1.77 billion, or $274 million excluding bankruptcy-related items; Southwest Airlines Co. netted $278 million; and Continental Airlines earned $228 million.
Does that sound like a group of corporations that need a tax break?

This attempt by W and his cronies to blow one by us just reaks, much like everything else in Washington right now. When the Attorney General gets kudos from the Commander-in-Chief for lying to Congress, and when that Congress just spins it's wheels doing nothing to bring justice back to the Department of Justice, you know we've got trouble in this country much larger then user fees and airline tax breaks.

Still, the GA community is getting screwed, and even if it is still just a small blip on the Congressional radar screen, to us pilots, this issue is not just a blip, it is a 747 heavy at 12 o'clock, same altitude, opposite direction, closing fast!

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