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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

EAA Requests Federal Court Review of FAA Air Traffic Fees

By Woodrow Bellamy III

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) isn't giving up its fight regarding the FAA-imposed air traffic controller (ATC) fees for its annual AirVenture show, as the organization is now asking a federal appeals court to review the payments. 
 
Last week, EAA filed a petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Court of Chicago. The petition is the result of FAA's notification to EAA officials in May that they would have to pay $447,000 to cover the cost of 87 air traffic controllers at the AirVenture show later this month. 
 
In the past, FAA has included the cost of staffing the ATC tower at Wittman Regional Airport for the duration of the show into its annual budget. However, as the agency faces a $637 million reduction to its 2013 operating budget due to sequestration, it has billed EAA for the cost. 
 
"While we understand the FAA's position and the temptation to augment its congressional appropriation, we naturally don't agree since we believe this approach unlawfully circumvents congressional approval and standard due process," said EAA Chairman Jack J. Pelton. "This affects AirVenture and numerous other aviation events throughout the nation in an unauthorized and unjustified manner. That is why we are seeking review, relief, and clarification from the court."
 

EAA's petition is asking the appeals court to reverse FAA's decision and return the money that has already been paid to cover the cost of the controllers.

Related: EAA Agrees to Pay for Air Traffic Controllers at AirVenture 

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