AOPA Sweden battles for tax breaks
campaign to prevent increases in tax on avgas across Europe is
yielding positive results, with several EU countries applying for
extensions to their exemptions.
AOPA Sweden has led a
write-in campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the tax
exemptions and urging national governments to take action to
preserve them. They were due to have run out on December 31st. The
result would have been significant increases in fuel costs across
The EU sets a minimum tax level on aviation fuels
in order to try, as far as possible, to harmonise costs across
Europe. For instance, the EU rate for unleaded avgas, which is
widely sold in Sweden, is 0.359 euros per litre. Taxation is a
jealously-guarded national concern, however. The Swedish
government levies no tax on unleaded avgas, and some other
countries apply a rate to aviation fuels that is lower than the EU
stipulation. Tax exemptions were due to have run out at the end of
the year unless national governments could be persuaded to apply
AOPA Sweden, run by Lars Hjelmberg, has
been urging European AOPAs to get their governments to take
action, and to date the United Kingdom, France, Malta and Sweden
have filed requests for below-minimum taxes with the EU. Finland
and Denmark are also applying, although their requests have yet to
reach Brussels. Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Poland and
Lithuania currently enjoy tax breaks but have not yet applied for
Lars says: "It was clear that several
Ministries of Finance were not aware of the fact that if no action
was taken, the tax exemptions would have automatically been
cancelled under Directive 2003/96 EC, article 18, item 1. If your
country still has not responded to the Commission, take urgent
action now! It's late, but not too late."
request to the EU is the first success for the recently
established AOPA Finland, where Klaus Bremer put together a paper
on the vital work of GA in professional pilot training, forest
fire monitoring and search and rescue services for Minister of
Finance Eero Heinäluoma.
is not yet well understood by regulators, air traffic
controllers or pilots, but a workshop set up by Eurocontrol's
CASCADE programme in Brussels in November went some way towards
starting the education process for everyone. It brought together
experts from all sectors of the aviation community to discuss
what needs to be done, and how.
ADS-B links with GPS to
provide positions for every aircraft in the sky. Through ADS-B,
aircraft can 'talk' to each other and a situational picture can
be presented to the pilot on a moving map display. Using ground
transmitters that are extremely cheap compared to radar,
information can be downloaded by ATC and uploaded by pilots,
including real-time weather data. ADS-B can help make more
efficient use of airspace, while infringements and runway
incursions could be significantly reduced.
Sternemann of AOPA-Germany outlined some of the opportunities
and problems for GA to the workshop. There is a national plan
for ADS-B implementation in North America by 2011, but their
system is not usable for the rest of the world – Eurocontrol
intends once again to establish something that favours
commercial air traffic, which, among other problems, will cause
equipment costs to become unnecessarily high. But trials in the
USA, Australia and Europe have had positive results for GA.
Pilots and controllers like ADS-B, and flying schools love it
because they can keep track of their aircraft. It is a great
safety enhancement, and unlike Mode-S, there's something in it
for the person who has to pay for it.
Can GA afford it?
If, as regulators want, we are forced at the same time to buy
new 8.33 radios, Mode-S transponders and fixed ELTs, it's
doubtful – remembering that the GA fleet is ten times the size
of the CAT fleet, and thus vastly more costly to equip.
Educating the aviation community about ADS-B is a slow process
and there's a long way to go, but it could turn out to be one of
the best safety tools in the GA armoury if it can be made
UK CAA talks to industry
ADS-B conference clashed with an extraordinary gathering of
general aviation people in England, where the Civil Aviation
Authority organised a conference to discuss GA's woes and their
treatment. Relations between regulator and industry have been
poisonous ever since the CAA decided, at British Airways' urging,
to raise charges to GA and reduce them to airlines. The CAA is
already believed to be the most expensive regulator in the world
in some areas; not only must it make all its costs back from the
industry, but it is required to make six percent profit.
the furore caused by his decision to raise charges, CAA chairman
Sir Roy McNulty instigated a number of reviews which concluded
that GA in the UK was a two billion euro industry employing 11,500
people directly and enriching many more, and that it constituted
eight percent of the entire aviation industry. To his credit,
McNulty has taken steps to understand general aviation and engage
with it in a constructive way. The keynote speaker at the
conference, the UK's aviation minister Gillian Merron MP, promised
a fairer deal for GA, including the establishment of a national
policy on a network of aerodromes which may make it more difficult
to build houses on them.
The two main debates were chaired
by AOPA chairman George Done and chief executive Martin Robinson
and covered a host of topics from Mode-S to EASA. One of the most
interesting points to come out of the conference was that CAA
charges fall on a relatively small sector of GA. Two thirds of the
industry, including permit aircraft, gliders and microlights, pay
little or nothing, while the companies that comprise the one third
on which the burden falls are generally in serious commercial
GA in the Aegean?
benefits of more general aviation tourism in the Aegean were
outlined by AOPA Greece president Yiouli Kalafati at a
Greek-Turkish forum on tourism attended by the tourism ministers
for both countries in November.
Yiouli told the Second Session of the Joint Turkish-Greek
Tourism Committee that there were 44,000 GA planes and 200,000
pilots in Europe, and that with their families they represented
a pool of 600,000 high-value tourists who could be coming to
Greece and Turkey to benefit their ecomonies.
Both countries have poorly developed GA industries. Youli
said that fewer than 100 GA aircraft came to Greece every year
(not counting organised air rallies) representing 0.2 percent of
the European GA pie. She added: "With just a few minor changes
and some simple caretaking this could become 1 % or about 400
planes with some 1,500 persons. With proper organisation, in two
to three years we could have 3% to 5%, that is about 1,000 to
2,000 planes and 4,000 to 8,000 people annually. This could
become the beginning of high-quality tourism for both our
countries, as the next stop is Turkey.
want to fly in Greece and Turkey because the Aegean islands and
the Aegean coast line present an environment that cannot be
found in their own countries, an environment reminiscent of the
Bahamas and the Maldives, while the interior of Turkish Anatolia
has a mystique for Europeans."
Yiouli outlined the
problems that need to be addressed – access to airfields and
airspace, availability of high-quality services at reasonable
prices, including handling charges, fuel availability, flexible
entry and exit points, and a lifting of the requirements for
special permissions for VFR flight.
She also called for
the support of the tourism ministries for both countries to
ifnluence other ministries, and was pleased to see that both
tourist ministers were taking notes of her presentation.
AOPA Norway fights CAA fees hike
Norwegian national CAA is proposing to raise all its fees by 4% to
cover what they say is "the government's demand to increase the
agency's income level".
AOPA Norway opposes such a
raise as it is "unfair to the smaller segments of aviation", says
Frode Berg, AOPA Norway's vice president and international contact.
better way of doing this would be to address the larger companies
to take more responsibilities in this regard, as they have the
means of recouping this added expense through more efficient
business routines, rationalising and in the end ticket prices,"
Frode says. "GA has no means of recouping these added costs, and
this segment is pressed to its limits on costs already."
national CAA further intends to raise the fee for converting older
Norwegian pilots licenses into JAR licenses by 100%, starting on
January 1st 2007.
Frode Berg says: "AOPA Norway has of
course opposed this in its response to the CAA, but considering
that most new pilots licences issued in Norway today are in fact
JAA licences, we are urging every pilot in the country with the
old BSL licence to convert to the JAR licence before the end of
German terror check opposed
Germany is continuing its long campaign against the "reliability
checks" introduced by the German federal government and has
recruited Ernst Burgbacher, a senior member of the Bundestag, to
speak out against them.
All pilots in Germany must undergo
a background investigation before they get their licences, and the
check must be repeated every two years. Herr Burgbacher has
written to the German Interior Minister asking for pilots to be
freed from blanket suspicion of terrorism. If checks must be
conducted, a five-year interval would be adequate, he says.
Germany's Michael Erb says: "We want to eliminate these
discriminatory and unnecessary background investigations. We have
had some success supporting members opposing this requirement in
court. When a Munich pilot refused to undergo the background
investigations his licence was revoked by the Aviation Authority
of Bavaria, but an Administrative Court decided that the
authorities overreacted and that the refusal to undergo a
background investigation must not lead to the loss of pilot
privileges; the licence was returned to the pilot. AOPA is
determined to fight these court cases for the rights of pilots up
to the German Supreme Court."
Fly-drive Christmas present
for something to give yourself as a Christmas present? AOPA
Germany has just the thing. They are organising an event at the
Porsche factory in Leipzig from June 14th to 16th where you'll
get the opportunity to drive a Porsche 911, Carrera or Boxter on
a Formula 1 track and a Cayenne on Porsche's off-road course,
accompanied by a professional driver. You'll also get a tour of
the factory. Better still, you'll get the chance to fly
Cirruses, Columbias, Diamonds and Cessnas at Leipzig airport.
The package includes two nights in a first class hotel, with
food and drink, and will cost 1375 euros. AOPA Germany's Michael
Erb says: "Better than the usual ties and socks, eh?"
number of participants is limited to 40. For details email email@example.com
or phone +49 (0)6103-42081
Michel Blanc retires
many years of dedicated service to AOPA France, Michel Blanc is
retiring. Formerly a Colonel of the French Air Force, Michel has
been a tireless worker for the interests of AOPA France members.
Curoy, private pilot, vintage aircraft restorer and experienced
executive in the graphics and photographic industry, has stepped
in to fill the slot, with the intention of making sure that AOPA
France will be even stronger in the future.
wishes to express its gratitude to Michel Blanc for many years of
dedication and service.
Loss of Roberto Manzaroli
Italy's Roberto Manzaroli has been killed in the unexplained crash
of his Piper Cheyenne while flying home from Malta.
known to his friends as "Hurricane Bob", was president of the
550-member Milan Flying Club and a member of the Italian ATC board
of directors. His plane crashed into the Appenines at the 4,000-ft
level at 3:30am. AOPA Italy's president Massimo Levy says the
aircraft had begun a slow and unexplained descent from FL200
without radio contact from the pilot. The rate of descent
increased until the aircraft crashed at an estimated speed of
400kt. Also killed was Roberto's passenger, Luigi Rotti.
says: "This is an extremely sad news. We have lost a friend, and
AOPA has lost a great supporter."
was held inside the Milan Aero Club main hangar, with the service
conducted by the Italian Air Force chaplain. IAOPA Europe sends
its condolences to all of Roberto and Luigi's family and friends.
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