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Testimony of Walter S. Coleman
Regional Airline Association
National Civil Aviation Review Commission
May 28, 1997
SUPPORT FOR PREDICTABLE STABLE FAA FUNDING SOURCE
The Regional Airline Association, on behalf of its 75 airline members, is a strong proponent for the establishment of a predictable and stable funding system for the FAA. We strongly support establishing a reliable funding stream to insure that FAA can perform all of the functions which are necessary for air carriers to serve passengers and shippers and it is particularly important to have adequate funding for FAA to make timely decisions to improve and maintain the U.S. air traffic control system.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REGIONAL AIRLINE SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES
The Regional Airline Association is participating in this and other discussions on FAA funding because of the important role that regional airlines perform throughout the United States. Regional airlines serve nearly 500 airports in the 48 contiguous states. Many of these airports are served by large air carriers but 300 of the 500 airports are served exclusively by regional airlines. With three fifths of U.S. communities dependent on regional airlines for access to larger cities and hubs and into the national air transportation system, it is important that we identify a funding mechanism for the FAA to meet the expectations of travelers going to and from these communities.
IDENTIFYING A FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION FUNDING MECHANISM
The Regional Airline Association is vitally interested in identifying a funding system for FAA which will fund FAA to a level that will permit it to perform its tasks efficiently. RAA members have worked with other groups in examining the current funding system and exploring funding alternatives which are not dependent on a passenger ticket tax.
There is unlikely to be a simple solution. The objective is to improve the efficiency of the FAA through the establishment of an adequate and predictable funding system. The RAA member airlines, collectively one of the primary users of the system with 2100 aircraft and 62 million passengers carried in 1996, seek a funding solution that will provide FAA with adequate funding and permit regional airlines to continue to serve the hundreds of communities they serve today.