The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and several industry groups are urging Congress to preserve general aviation’s vital contribution to the U.S. economy as it considers a relief package to support the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
General aviation is crucial to the country’s transportation network, serving as a lifeline for many communities, and Part 135 operators conducting almost all air ambulance flights in the U.S. The general aviation community supports 1.2 million jobs and $247 billion in economic impact, but under the economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many operators may not survive without financial assistance, according to a letter the groups sent to congressional leaders this week.
Read the full letter to congressional leaders.
“As you consider a potential relief package for FAR Part 121 air carriers, we request that those same programs be made available for companies conducting operations under FAR Parts 135 and 91 subpart K. Programs that would provide the most support to our industry include medium to long-term liquidity assistance and relief from air transportation excise taxes,” the letter states. “With the majority of business aviation air carriers being private companies, their access to capital is more constrained. In the current environment, private equity markets are not able to provide financing, eliminating an important source of liquidity for the industry.”
The threat of potential domestic travel restrictions and locally imposed travel restrictions might cause even more significant harm to these companies as the COVID-19 crisis continues, the letter adds.
“The business aviation industry is resilient and has a proven track record of providing humanitarian assistance during times of need,” according to the letter. “However, the air carriers within our industry are facing unprecedented challenges, and we appreciate your consideration of our requests. We look forward to being engaged in discussions on a potential relief package for all air carriers and thank you for your leadership.”
In addition to NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, the letter was signed by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President Mark Baker, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack Pelton, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO Pete Bunce, Helicopter Association International (HAI) President and CEO James Viola and National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and CEO Tim Obitts.
Review a one-pager on the importance of air charter and fractional operators.