6:39 PM

A Counter Punch
from AOPA

Man-oh-man, these AOPA guys are playing hardball when it comes to fighting the airlines and Bush's crazy user fee scheme.

Just a few days ago, AOPA reported that the seatback magazines for United and Northwest Airlines were running articles trying to turn the public against GA. AOPA told us these articles were corporate B.S. that was about as far from the truth as is most everything else even remotely related to W's White House these days. (O.K., that last part is my opinion, not AOPA's)

I'm sure AOPA would have loved to run full-page color counterpoint ads, setting the record straight. But of course, the enemy would never let that happen. So AOPA has taken a different approach, asking the GA community to pitch in and help:

AOPA has made available for download two “counterpoint” articles – one for United flights and one for Northwest flights – that pilots and friends of the GA community can download, print out and stuff into the seatback magazines.
Whoa, that be some serious punching going on.

Here's the verbatim text of the United “ad”, taken form the AOPA PDF:
Lies Make the Skies Very Un-Friendly. This airline (and others) have been feeding passengers like you a steady string of lies about a serious issue that will affect all airline passengers: how the FAA is funded and managed in the future. Why? Because the airlines are — again — looking for another huge tax bailout from the government (that means taxpayers — like you).

Smart Skies? Hardly. In this magazine there’s an article called “Smart Skies.” It’s written by the head lobbyist for the airline industry and he makes the following statements that grossly distort the facts. He says…
• There isn’t money to modernize Air Traffic Control (ATC) system [AOPA FACT: There is plenty of money to modernize the ATC system. Even the government says so!]
• That satellites aren’t being used in the ATC system [AOPA FACT: Satellites are – today – an essential part of air navigation.]
• Airline delays are caused by the ATC system [AOPA FACT: A recent DOT report said that the delays are a result of weather … or the airlines themselves!]
• The efficient way the FAA is funded needs to be modernized [AOPA FACT: The FAA’s current funding system has resulted in nothing less than the largest, safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world!]
• The airlines pay more than their “fair share” of costs to run the FAA [AOPA FACT: The airlines pay more because they use far more of the system (that was designed just for them) than anyone else.]
What do the airlines really want? Another bailout, another major tax break, another loan guarantee. In the last decade these have totaled more than $37 billion! You deserve to know the truth. Before the airlines try to change a good thing, we urge you to visit www.aviationacrossamerica.org today. There you’ll learn how and why our air transportation system is the envy of the world. And why it’s so important to keep it that way. Have a good flight. And let’s keep the skies friendly for all air travelers.

Placed in this magazine by a fellow traveler and concerned pilot.

AOPA says it probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that this Washington lobbyist has, in every case, distorted the facts. They conclude by stating what we already knew: "[these statements are] just another effort to mask the incompetent ways the airlines run their business."

AOPA is also providing the following snail mail addresses in case you wish to mail either airline's CEO a letter describing your grief over this situation:

Douglas Steenland, President and CEO
Northwest Airlines Corporation
2700 Lone Oak Parkway
Eagan, MN 55121

Glenn F. Tilton, Chairman, President, and CEO
UAL Corporation
77 Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

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