Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

A TAX ON BUSINESS-aircraft operations, proposed by US President Bill Clinton to pay for a national literacy programme, is being described by the US National Air Transportation Association (NATA) as "a serious threat to the viability of corporate aviation". The US National Business Aircraft Association and General Aviation Manufacturers Association also oppose the surprise proposal to levy a $225/departure fee on turbine aircraft. NATA says that it is not yet clear whether the tax would apply only to Part 91 corporate flights, or also to Part 135 on-demand air-taxi operations.

The levy would raise about half the $7 billion required to pay for Clinton's election-year promise to improve education standards for US children.

The departure fee would be paid into the existing Aviation Trust Fund, set up to finance the US air-traffic-control system, but would be diverted to pay for the national literacy programme.

While no legislation has yet been put forward and Congressional action is unlikely until after the US Presidential election late this year, NATA believes that the proposal reveals the Clinton Administration's "true colours towards aviation-this move can only be viewed as a first step in the imposition of new aviation-user fees, against which the industry has fought so hard".

Source: Flight International