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General aviation in Canada : a study of its development and policy McNeal, Wayne Caleb

Abstract

General aviation, which includes all aircraft except those of the military and the scheduled air carriers, is an important sector of the air transportation system. The impact of general aviation cannot be regarded lightly whether for business, pleasure, industrial use or commercial air service, these aircraft account for 98 percent of the total civil aviation fleet and they flew over 80 percent of the total hours flown in 1967. General aviation is growing at a rate that, alone, could absorb all available capacity of air traffic control and ground-handling facilities at some major metropolitan airports. Paradoxically the growth of general aviation and its absorption of facility capacity causes congestion and delay and threatens to limit the system development. Despite the key role it plays in supporting the industrial and service bases that make our air transportation system possible, general aviation demands have not been adequately met because of an absence of data to formulate an effective policy. The objective of this study is to assess the development and future trends of general aviation for the purpose of policy considerations and facility planning. General aviation data presented in this study has been derived from responses to questionnaires mailed to private aircraft owners and commercial non-scheduled air carriers who had aircraft during 1967. The data was collected and compiled by the Department of Transport with assistance of the Aviation Statistics Centre in two segments: Part 1 - Responses received from owners of private aircraft; Part 2- Responses by Canadian carriers and statistical data reported directly to the Air Transport Committee. All the forecast demand factors indicate a monumental requirement for capital investment in airports and the airspace systems. It is apparent that the present general aviation policy will have to be adapted to meet the anticipated demand. Present policy does not treat the planning and allocation of our airways and airports as though they were scarce economic resources. All too often, the concept of efficient use of resources is not an integral part of the promotion of aviation or the fostering of its growth and development. It is therefore, recommended that a national general aviation policy is required in which the proper allocation of airways and airports for the most efficient use possible of general aviation facilities can be developed in relation to the total system demand. It is further recommended that the Federal Government review and modify its existing policy regarding federal contributions to or the responsibility for the direct contribution of general aviation airports. The Federal Government's heavy financial burden to meet the requirements for mainline airports suggests the desirability of encouraging the provinces and local municipalities to assume a greater share of the developing and financing of non-mainline airports for general aviation use. General aviation benefits mainly a region or local community since it primarily serves only the air transportation needs of the regional district or the municipality. It seems natural, since the main benefits accrue to the province and municipality, that the Federal Government should establish a liaison with the other levels of government to promote general aviation. The main theme of such a liaison should be to stress the idea of integration of planning and developing of general aviation within the framework of comprehensive regional and community plans as well as the national air transportation system. The expenditures for general aviation facilities could be shared by all three levels of government and these amounts should be matched by general aviation user charges.

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