OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - The Experimental Aircraft Association says it has grudgingly agreed to pay almost a half-million dollars to have air traffic controllers at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh.
It used to be that the group never had to pay anything extra for federal controllers – but that was before the federal budget sequester took effect in March.
The Federal Aviation Administration says it must cut $384 million from its budget for the current fiscal year – and charging for controllers is one way to do that.
EAA chairman Jack Pelton said the FAA is holding events like his hostage – and they agreed to pay $447,000 for the controllers because there was no other realistic option to, “preserve aviation’s largest annual gathering.”
10,000 planes and hundreds of thousands of spectators attend the EAA show.
The group will pay part of its bill now, and the rest after the event, which is set for July 29th through August 4th at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
Pelton said the issue is not over. He said he hopes the FAA’s leadership will attend the event to, “personally explain their policy to the nation’s aviators.”