Pay attention to the people who pay (i.e. your customers). That’s what a senior AOPA executive told dealers and manufacturers attending the Aircraft Electronics Association convention last week in Reno, Nevada. “Representing more than 411,000 members, I can tell you that 88 percent will reduce their flying significantly if the Bush administration’s proposal to quadruple aviation gas taxes is enacted,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. And if they reduce their flying, they’re going to cut back on their purchases of everything aviation related.” Cebula cited AOPA polling data that showed that the majority of AOPA members would reduce their flying hours by up to 50 percent if the gas tax were increased [from 19] to 70 cents per gallon. These data were in stark contrast to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey’s assertion in her speech to the convention that the proposed tax increase wouldn’t affect “Joe Pilot in a Cessna 172” because the increased hourly operating cost amounted to “the cost of a Starbucks latte

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