2005 Press Releases

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NBAA Comments on FAA's 'Wet Lease' Proposal Call for Industry/Government Partnership to Produce Effective Policies on Aircraft Management Arrangements

ORLANDO, FL, November 9, 2005 – In comments submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) requested the formation of an industry-government working group to address the complexities of policy guidance on "wet lease" and other business aviation management relationships.

The NBAA's comments came in response to guidance issued by the FAA last month that specifically addresses wet lease arrangements, which involve the sharing of pilots between private aircraft owners and charter companies.

NBAA and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) were initially concerned that, as written, the FAA's guidance might unnecessarily change existing regulation on aircraft management arrangements, or add requirements for such relationships that are typically sought through the formal, federal rule-making process.

In its comments, NBAA explained that the safety benefits of wet lease management relationships need to be fully articulated to support informed policy decision-making.

"NBAA would like to highlight some key aspects of our Members' significant involvement in aircraft management agreements and the important safety benefits derived from those arrangements," the Association's comments noted.

For instance, aircraft owners seeking to operate their aircraft to the highest safety standards but lacking sufficient in-house or personal experience to do so often turn to companies specializing in managing aircraft. These management companies offer a variety of services including scheduling, maintenance coordination and pilot services. By obtaining these services through a managed aircraft relationship, an aircraft owner can achieve a level of safety that could otherwise take years to establish.

Charter companies also utilize managed aircraft arrangements to obtain and make available aircraft with low flight times from private aircraft owners. The public benefits because management companies with decades of aviation and safety experience can offer new, capital-intensive aircraft that would otherwise be unaffordable, with operations regularly overseen by FAA inspectors.

Following the issuance of its wet lease guidance, FAA officials assured representatives with NBAA and NATA that its comments were merely a starting point for an exploration of policy options. FAA staff committed to work with industry stakeholders on development of policies impacting wet lease arrangements and other aircraft management relationships.

"NBAA welcomes the opportunity to work with the FAA on the safety issues involving wet lease and other managed aircraft charter relationships," NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said. "We are committed to move forward with a productive dialogue between industry and government that helps the FAA develop effective policy guidance on this matter of great importance to our industry."

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Founded in 1947, NBAA serves more than 7,000 Member Companies by promoting the aviation interests of organizations utilizing business aircraft in the United States and worldwide. The association 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.