NATA

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Industry Leaders Praise Passage of More Relief Funding see more

    Industry groups welcomed U.S. congressional approval this week of additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), saying it provides the opportunity for much-needed relief for small aviation businesses. The nearly $500 billion measure—which included more than $300 billion to replenish the depleted PPP fund with $60 billion set aside for small lenders—passed the House yesterday, following Senate passage on Tuesday.

    “We are very pleased to see Congress respond to the continuing, highly challenging needs of many small businesses and their employees,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.

    Noting the majority of Helicopter Association International’s membership comprises small businesses, HAI president and CEO James Viola added, “Like most small businesses around the world, they are suffering from the effects of the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    The business and general aviation community have been working to ensure Congress understands the harm the Covid-19 pandemic is having on the industry and continues to seek further assistance as Congress considers future measures.

    This is particularly true as smaller carriers are still struggling to obtain resources for that and funding that was specifically set aside for aviation. “We are hearing stories of difficulties with the PPP and the Air Carrier Worker Support Program,” NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts said, adding the organization is continuing to educate and push for access to all available relief programs.

    “As Congress considers additional legislation related to the Covid-19 pandemic, NATA has already begun discussions with key policymakers regarding the need for additional support for our industry,” said Jonathon Freye, NATA vice president of government and public affairs.

    Alluding to a possible fifth economic stimulus package, HAI pointed to “much-needed additional funding,” and said it would continue to impress upon Congress the importance of keeping the industry viable.

    This article was originally published by AINonline on April 24, 2020.

  • Tracey Cheek posted an article
    Industry Leaders Voice Growing Concerns about Shutdown see more

    Business aviation leaders are expressing growing concern about the increasing ramifications of the prolonged partial U.S. government shutdown. “It is clear that the shutdown’s impact is being felt,” NBAA said in an update to its members today, pointing the cessation of activities such as the issuance of new pilot certificates and letters of authorization.

    In addition, training centers are concerned about the possibility for expiration of authorizations for evaluators and flight training devices, and certification of aircraft and equipment is affected. Further, the association has been concerned that Customs and Border Protection is not processing requests for new overflight exemptions.

    The FAA has indicated plans for a number of safety inspectors to return to work, but details about which functions will resume remain unclear, the association said, adding the primary focus is anticipated to be on safety surveillance.

    “Since the partial government shutdown began on December 21, our nation’s aviation system has functioned safely and efficiently thanks to the hard work of dedicated FAA professionals,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “That said, general aviation is a highly regulated industry, so it’s no surprise that some service disruptions are becoming visible.”

    NATA agreed, saying the aviation industry is one of the hardest hit because of safety and security requirements. “The shutdown has halted work on new aircraft certification, interactions between FAA and other nations, some aircraft registrations, commercial drone flight authorizations, aircraft mechanic licenses, introduction of new air traffic technology and airport construction approvals.”

    The effect has been “very real” for controllers and other workers missing paychecks, NATA said.

    The association further pointed to specific disruptions, such as a member company that has had two aircraft stranded in Canada, awaiting FAA approval to return. Others have had issues with ferry permits and/or special flight permits, both domestic and international-bound flights and NetJets has not been able to add new aircraft into its operations, NATA added. Training companies, including FlightSafety International, have reported multiple delays and cancellations.

    GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce, meanwhile, warned during a recent rally that even though the aircraft registry is open, the FAA and DOT have taken a narrow view of what is authorized registry activities, hampering its full use. If the shutdown was to continue in the next few weeks, the costs could run into the billions, he added.

    The associations were among the more than 30 organizations signing a letter last week to leaders on Capitol Hill, outlining some of the many ramifications and urging them to work to end the shutdown.

    Another signatory of that letter, NATCA, meanwhile, has taken a multipronged effort to put pressure on the government to end the shutdown, through a rally, leaflet campaign, and lawsuit. The organization, however, did welcome passage and signing into law of the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, which guarantees back pay to federal employees affected by the shutdown. But NATCA president Paul Rinaldi added, “There is no reason to keep employees home and furloughed now that they are guaranteed their pay. Our elected leaders need to be responsible stewards of American taxpayer dollars and end this shutdown immediately.”

    He added that the shutdown is “eroding the layers of redundancy and support necessary” for the National Airspace System.

    This article was originally published on AINonline on January 17, 2019.