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Canada’s BizAv ownership rules makes sense: Barone

Nov. 2, 2012, Orlando, Fla. - Sam Barone has to tread a fine line. The spokesman for Canada’s business aviation industry is just fine with Canada’s rules governing privately owned aircraft, he said during an interview Wednesday — rules more numerous and onerous than those proposed in the U.S., which his sister U.S. organization is fighting with fiery rhetoric.


November 2, 2012
By The Montreal Gazette

The two proposed measures by President Barack Obama’s
administration would charge modest landing fees — a maximum of $100 per
flight — for business aircraft, and would reduce the attractiveness of
depreciation advantages for private jets.

 

That has sparked a personal war of words against Obama by the
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) lobby group at its 65th
annual convention here — a continuation of the attack at last year’s Las
Vegas meeting and at perhaps the most crucial time in the presidential
election campaign, which ends Tuesday.

 

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Barone said that in Canada, private aircraft pay not only those
landing fees and receive lesser depreciation allowances, but pay other
fees besides.

 

“We also have user fees for airports and we have navigation (and
air-traffic control fees) for Nav Canada, and we pay $20 per passenger
(per flight), and by and large, it works for us.”

 

“But don’t propose that over there,” he quipped, pointing to the NBAA convention booth. “You’ll be punched out tout de suite.”

 

In the U.S., business aviation pays its way solely through an excise
tax on aviation fuel, channelled through appropriation funding for the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 

Barone stressed that he was not “wading into U.S. politics.”

 

And he noted on several occasions that he understood and sympathized with the NBAA’s position.

 

“Like them, we want to maintain an efficient cost structure. We would
also love more generous depreciation fees. … And we do have a concern
in Canada that we have one of the highest fuel excise taxes in the
world. When you add it all up, in the end it comes out of corporate
aviation activity.”

 

Danielle Boudreau of Bombardier Business Aircraft said in a previous
interview that “any additional cost in our very tough international
business is not good for competitivity.”

 

That activity is worth about $5 billion a year in Canada, excluding
aircraft sales by Bombardier Inc. or engine sales by Pratt & Whitney
Canada, Montreal’s two largest aerospace firms.

 

Pratt & Whitney Canada is one of the top engine suppliers to that
industry and Bombardier is the world’s largest private aircraft
manufacturer.

 

Pratt & Whitney Canada spokesperson Maria Mandato said in an
email that business and general aviation — non-airline — engines
represent about half of her firm’s sales.

 

But Barone said that despite the heavier burden, “we haven’t had the
same level of animosity with our government. On the contrary.

 

“We have issues we’ve had to work on with Ottawa, but we haven’t been
as heated as here — in the middle of an election. We’ve never had that
situation.”

 

Barone voiced something seldom heard in the U.S.: “We don’t mind
paying our fair share of taxes for the aviation business — but we want
government to reinvest some of that revenue back into the aviation
industry.”

 

Asked if Canadian regulations and costs were excessive, Barone
replied: “No. In Canada, our members speak up — vehemently. But at some
point, we acknowledge that that improvement fee or whatever will build a
new runway in Calgary, for instance, or make sure that ramps are fixed
and maintained and snow is removed.

 

“So yes, we want to pay our fair share. But there’s a limit. We’re not asking for new taxes.”