Is President Bush Abusing Air Force One Privileges?

Editorial, by Jay C. White, President, California Pilots Association.

Is President Bush abusing his Air Force One privileges by using it solely for political purposes and interfering with the air tranportation system ? During his recent two-day campaign trip, great areas of the nation’s navigable airspace were prempted by the President. Airspace restrictions in Southern and Northern California alone severly impacted operations at many airports.

Very disturbing is the reason for these restrictions. According the San Francisco Chronicle, the President was on a campaign fund raising mission. Within two days while in California he raised $1.5 milion for his personal campaign and another $5 million for the Republican National Committee. Contributions of $700,000 were collected at a luncheon in Santa Clara from persons who paid up to $2000 each.

This raises two serious questions: Should taxpayers be footing the bill for Air Force One when it is used solely for political purposes? Further, should the nation’s navigable airspace be used for such purposes when it seriously interferes with the rights of legitimate business and personal users?