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NBAA Works With Members, Industry to Address Rising Fuel Costs

As soaring fuel costs have forced transportation cutbacks nationwide, organizations and small businesses that rely on general aviation (GA) have been especially hard-hit.

Historically, the general aviation community has paid nearly twice the price for fuel than that paid by the commercial airlines. The impact of high fuel costs on business aviation is visible in all parts of the country, as businesses and organizations from schools to charities struggle to cope and maintain their missions.

In fact, a recent informal survey found that a number of NBAA Members have had to make changes in their operations because of rising fuel costs, and many Member companies are having to spend more hours on flight plans to find the most efficient way to fly. Other changes include tankering fuel, cutting back on hours flown, flying slower to save fuel, or, when possible, using airports with more than one fixed base operator in order to find some level of competitive pricing.

Across the country, the industry is feeling the effects. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently reported activity at GA airports is down significantly, citing as an example, operations at Springfield, IL, which have declined by 30 percent.

Helping its Members and the industry deal with this crisis, NBAA has been leading the way in working with others in the transportation industry to urge Congress to take action on rising fuel costs.

In early July, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen joined aviation leaders at an energy conference in Washington, DC to discuss the impact of rising fuel costs on all segments of the industry and explore approaches to address the crisis. The Energy/Air Service Summit was sponsored by the American Association of Airport Executives, and was held to mobilize the aviation community and government agencies to respond to this threat to the viability of the nation’s aviation system.

While highlighting the challenges faced by general aviation during the panel discussion, Bolen called on the aviation community to work together to accomplish the Next Generation Air Traffic System, also known as “NextGen,” which promises to increase system fuel efficiencies by 10 to 12 percent.

NBAA also joined a diverse coalition focused on finding ways to reduce fuel prices. The Stop Oil Speculation Now coalition includes among its members the commercial airlines and other general aviation groups, along with highway, agricultural and other interests. The coalition’s goal is to implement policy solutions “to help materially reduce unnecessarily high energy prices.”

As part of the coalition, NBAA joined in signing a letter to congressional leaders urging the prompt passage of legislation that limits excessive speculation and encourages environmentally sound domestic oil production.