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NBAA Says Airline-Backed FAA Proposal Threatens Jobs, Access, Economic GrowthGeneral Aviation Vital to States' Economies, Small Towns, Rural Areas
Contact: Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or [email protected]
WASHINGTON, DC, March 13, 2007 – The plan advocated by the major airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for FAA "reauthorization," or funding, threatens vital air service and economic growth of small communities and rural areas, said Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), in speaking at an industry-wide panel on Capitol Hill today.
Bolen told the industry hearing hosted by the Aerospace States Association (ASA) on the issues surrounding FAA reauthorization that about "85 percent of the entities that rely on general aviation to meet a portion of their transportation challenges are small and mid-sized businesses that own and operate a single airplane."
He said the general aviation community, which includes NBAA and its 8,000 Members, "is committed to working with Congress to transform and modernize the nation's aviation system. Likewise, we are committed to modernization policies that support the continued growth of each aviation segment, including general aviation."
Unfortunately, the FAA proposal supported by the major airlines is antithetical to this policy goal because it would create a costly and burdensome user fee system that will fall heavily on small to mid-sized businesses that depend on general aviation at more than 5,000 U.S. public airports, most of which are not served by scheduled airlines.
Bolen explained that general aviation covers a broad cross-section of the nation, including businesses, government agencies, schools and universities, and not-for-profit organizations. In addition, these business flyers are supported by an even wider circle of fixed base operators, maintenance technicians, suppliers and service providers.
All together, Bolen said, general aviation represents a $150 billion contribution to annual U.S. economic output, and directly or indirectly provides jobs for more than 1 million Americans.
The FAA proposal also threatens these non-airline interests, he said, because it would create a new governing board at the expense of congressional oversight of the public interest – especially those of small towns and rural areas – in the national air transportation system.
"To everyone who was around the last time the nation's big airlines pushed a user fee scheme in Congress, there is a strong sense of déjà vu," Bolen reminded the industry hearing, which included several members of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure. "This time around, the airlines have picked a new target for their tax shift – general aviation – and they have increased the amount [from $600 million in 1997] to $2 billion," he said.
Bolen urged the ASA to work with Congress to reject aviation user fees in any form and begin focusing on working within the FAA's current stable, reliable funding mechanisms "to expand system capacity to enhance mobility for all Americans."
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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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