NATA Executive Legislative Briefing

September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

As you know, NATA has been in nearly constant communication with our allies on Capitol Hill discussing the kinds of assistance our industry needs as we continue the process of recovering from the impacts of the pandemic. Specifically, that means advocating that NATA members including contractors to the airlines and Part 135 air carriers, and the thousands of workers they employ, remain eligible for federal assistance programs.
 
Just a few moments ago, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker and Senator Susan Collins, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, introduced a bill to extend the Payroll Support Program (PSP) that was created by the CARES Act. The legislative proposal is largely a “clean” extension of the PSP, and would extend the program through March 2021. Additional highlights include:

  • Provide $28 billion in assistance for passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and airline contractors;
  • $11 billion in new appropriations
  • $17.4 billion in funding repurposed from unspent CARES Act PSP funds and loans
  • Preserve national air service;
  • CARES Act taxpayer protections, including requirements that some of the assistance be paid back as loans with interest. 

While the path forward for this bill remains unclear and faces a challenging political landscape as this session of Congress quickly comes to a close, Chairman Wicker’s staff shared his sense of urgency that the legislation be included in any other legislative vehicle that moves through the chamber “before October 1st.” And, while still a heavy lift, Senator Collins’ co-sponsorship of the measure as Chair of the Appropriations committee may indicate the possibility that it would be included in a stop-gap government funding measure like a Continuing Resolution that would pass before year’s end.

The extension of the PSP will help many NATA members to retain their employees who provide essential services and serve as the gateway to many rural communities.  We will continue to update our members as deals on Capitol Hill can sometimes come together quickly during the waning days of an election year.

Best,
 

TOSignature

Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


Jonathon Freye
VP, Government and Public Affairs
National Air Transportation Association 

NATA Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

September 21, 2020

September 18, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

With this week’s Business Aviation Sustainability Summit, the industry has taken a key next step to build upon the tremendous progress we have made on sustainability in just the last two years. Collectively, we are focused on accelerating SAF’s adoption and use, which requires us to grow supply and demand. This week’s discussion highlighted ways for us to do just that. The summit gathered operators, legislators, regulators, fuel suppliers and others to determine how best and how quickly the production, supply, demand and use of SAF can be accelerated.

Specifically, the event focused on the following efforts:

  • Encouraging federal and state policymakers to consider legislative incentives to help foster SAF production
  • Educate stakeholders regarding “book-and-claim”
  • Continue educating the industry about SAF and the coalition’s commitment to counteract climate change

We were pleased to hear the perspectives of government leaders, including Joel Szabat, Acting Undersecretary for Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation; Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02), Chair, Subcommittee on Aviation, U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; and Kevin Welsh, Executive Director, Office of Environment & Energy, Federal Aviation Administration. NATA and our industry partners sincerely thank these leaders for their time and support.

We’d like to once again thank the following sponsors for their generosity and support of the summit: Avfuel, Bombardier Aviation, Embraer, and Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Our appreciation also goes out to our partner organizations of the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Fuel, which includes the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). NATA is pleased to be a part of a strong coalition representing all segments of the business aviation community. More information about the SAF Coalition is available at futureofsustainablefuel.com.

If you missed viewing or would like to revisit any of the sessions, the recordings are available at the following links:

The coalition recently released Fueling the Future, an educational and informational guide on SAF development, industry adoption, and pending expansion of supply and use. We were pleased to see hundreds of downloads of the guide throughout the summit and encourage you to review as well. To that end, we will be sending a copy of the guide on eco-friendly paper with a future issue of the Aviation Business Journal.

Also, highlighted throughout the summit were several major SAF-related announcements from leading business aviation companies, which can be found on NATA’s social media channels and in our weekly newsletter – NATA  News. Each announcement demonstrating just how far we have come through collaboration toward a common goal. If you have any questions about SAF, please contact NATA or your fuel supplier.

Best,

TOSignature

Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

September 21, 2020

September 3, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

In less than three weeks NATA’s popular Ground Handling Safety Symposium (GHSS) will be held as a virtual conference from September 22-24, 2020. This unique format will allow attendees to learn about solutions for the operational safety needs of FBOs and other GA ground handlers in interactive, digital sessions.
 
Other Events on the Horizon
 
The Virtual 2020 Business Aviation Sustainability Summit — scheduled for September 14-15, 2020 — is brought to you by the SAF Coalition, including the European Business Aviation Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the International Business Aviation Council, NATA, and the National Business Aviation Association. We encourage you to view the agenda and register for this unique opportunity to hear the perspectives from all segments of the industry on this key pathway to achieving our industry’s sustainability goals. Have you read the coalition’s new guide, Fueling the Future? It serves as an educational and informational resource about the practicalities of SAF development, industry adoption, and pending expansion of supply and use. 

Last week, I joined NATA Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack for several stops on the ongoing General Aviation Advancing America (GAAA) tour of general aviation airports across the country. We held several more productive and educational meetings in Smyrna, TN, Greenville, SC, Jacksonville, FL, and Tallahassee, FL. The upcoming schedule can be viewed here. Contact NATA SVP Ryan Waguespack at ryanw@nata.aero if you would like to host an upcoming GAAA gathering at your airport.

The next installment in the monthly Air Charter Roundtable Webinar series will take place on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 11 AM EDT. We will cover the air charter industry and the challenges of current and past air charter contracts during COVID-19. Perspectives from both the air charter broker and operator point of views will be examined.

NATA Legislative Briefing

In a Legislative Briefing that was sent to the membership yesterday, NATA Vice President Jonathon Freye provided an update from the happenings on Capitol Hill that can be viewed here.

New DEF in FSII Field Test Provides Another Layer of Protection in Contamination Prevention

Recently, the new DEFKit® in FSII Field Test was announced and is available through Gammon Technical Products (GTP). The kit is a simple to use field test for detecting Diesel Exhaust Fluid in Fuel System Icing Inhibitor. Developed by Emcee Electronics — a leading supplier of laboratory instruments for aviation fuel testing — the new DEFKit® can detect DEF contamination levels in FSII as low as 2%. NATA offers a free operational best practice on DEF Handling and Contamination Prevention and has DEF contamination prevention training available through its Safety 1st Training Center. The new DEFKit® can be ordered through Gammon Technical Products, and for more information and additional resources on preventing DEF contamination, visit NATA’s DEF Awareness Page.

We hope you have an enjoyable Holiday weekend.

Best,TOSignature
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

September 21, 2020

August 27, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

Earlier today, you may have seen exciting industry news in the form of an invitation to a first-of-its-kind event for business aviation, gathering experts along every point on the value chain for discussions to determine how to increase the production, availability, and use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The Virtual 2020 Business Aviation Sustainability Summit, scheduled for September 14-15, 2020, is brought to you by the SAF Coalition, including the European Business Aviation Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the International Business Aviation Council, NATA, and the National Business Aviation Association. We encourage you to view the agenda and register for this unique opportunity to hear the perspectives from all segments of the industry on this key pathway to achieving our industry’s sustainability goals. If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to read the coalition’s new guide, Fueling the Future, serving as an educational and informational resource about the practicalities of SAF development, industry adoption, and pending expansion of supply and use. Together, we will continue to make a difference for the industry’s mission and the environment.

Regulatory – NATA and FAA Work to Monitor ATC Hours of Operation as Activity Increases in Areas Across the Country
Recently, NATA members noted an increase in traffic associated with the Santa Rosa Tower located at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport and expressed the need for a review of the tower’s hours of operation. In response to our members’ requests, NATA promptly contacted the FAA and a review of the traffic data at STS was conducted, leading to the expansion of the tower hours to accommodate the increased activity.
In April, the FAA published a notice of its plans to temporarily adjust the operating hours of approximately 100 control towers nationwide, including the tower at STS. According to the FAA, the adjustments were made “to ensure the continued resiliency of the air traffic control system amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Making these adjustments allows for continued safe operations throughout the national airspace system, while minimizing health risks to its workforce.” The facilities had seen a significant reduction in flights, especially during the evening and nighttime hours, since the pandemic began, but some are now seeing a consistent uptick in activity. NATA will continue to support the FAA in this great collaborative effort to monitor traffic volume at impacted facilities.

The Business Case for SMS | Webinar Recording Available
Yesterday, NATA held a successful webinar on the business case for Safety Management Systems (SMS). An SMS provides an organizational approach to managing safety risk and assures the effectiveness of safety risk controls. It also defines how operational safety should be managed and integrated into an organization’s business activities. A well developed and implemented SMS keeps the safety message consistent, interesting, and always out front – helping operators understand the risks inherent within their business. The webinar was hosted by Ryan Waguespack who was joined by NATA’s Senior Advisor, Regulatory Affairs (Maintenance) Keith DeBerry and Robert Rufli, Vice President of Flight Operations and Director of Operations for Pentastar Aviation. View the webinar recording here. Thank you once again to TAC Air for their sponsorship of this informative webinar.

General Aviation Advancing America –
NATA leadership completed several more stops on its tour of general aviation airports across the country. Last week, NATA Chairman of the Board Curt Castagna joined me and Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack for productive and educational meetings in Long Beach, Van Nuys, and Bakersfield, California, as well as Elko, Nevada. On behalf of the Board, Curt expressed support of this valuable initiative: “General Aviation Advancing America is consistent with NATA’s vision for collaboration between airport sponsors, aviation businesses, and communities. NATA’s Board has prioritized initiatives to highlight the immense value of general aviation in serving communities across the country – many of which would be devastated by the loss of commercial air service. General aviation businesses in these areas have, and will continue to play a key role in the nation, preserving jobs and delivering medical, fire, and agricultural support to their communities, as well as a host of other valuable services to a broad range of industries that rely primarily on them and the airport for support.”

The NATA staff and Board continue to be grateful for the enthusiasm and support of our members and community stakeholders at airports across the nation. It is through these collaborations and partnerships that we will continue to rise above our challenges and harness opportunities for growth and change.    

Best,

TOSignature
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

August 26, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

NATA joined many of our members, colleagues, and friends industry-wide to celebrate Aviation Day –  a national observation that celebrates the development of aviation. One way in which we highlighted the vast achievements of the association, its members, and the industry is to make a significant announcement on our collective sustainability efforts. Earlier today, NATA was very pleased, as part of the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF Coalition), to release a new informational guide detailing how industry leaders can incorporate sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into their operations and accelerate the adoption of low-carbon fuels, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The new guide, titled, Fueling the Future, serves as an educational and informational resource about the practicalities of SAF development, industry adoption, and pending expansion of supply and use, primarily from the perspectives of the business aviation community. This announcement couldn’t come at a better time as the current health crisis is underscoring the importance of maintaining the momentum in achieving our environmentally friendly agendas and reaching ever higher. We are thrilled to present this second edition of the SAF Guide as the coalition’s goal has always been to increase the production and use of SAF, and education through this guide is key to that mission.

SAF blending components are made from bio-based or other circular-economy feedstock sources. On a gallon-per-gallon basis, these low-carbon components often reduce net lifecycle CO2 emissions in excess of 50%, versus conventional jet fuel. Industry innovators are additionally planning to produce SAF blending components with deeper reductions, and in some cases more than 100%, making the fuels carbon negative. SAF is a proven and trusted replacement for traditional jet fuel that will help lower the industry’s carbon footprint. SAF has been used continuously at select airports since 2016, and its production is expected to scale significantly during the next five years.

Stay tuned for additional sustainability-related announcements in the days ahead, including news on plans for moving ahead with a virtual version of the 2020 Business Aviation Global Sustainability Summit, originally planned for March 2020.

The SAF Coalition – which includes the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) – developed the guide. Many thanks to all those who put in a tremendous effort to make relevant updates and information available to the public. Learn more about the SAF Coalition and its efforts at www.futureofsustainablefuel.com.

General Aviation Advancing America

This week, NATA continued its General Aviation Advancing America initiative with stops to regional airports in Nevada and California after several productive and energizing stops in Colorado last week. We are hearing that general aviation activity in these areas is on the rise, these airports are continuing to play critical roles as hubs for essential services, and that general aviation is indeed advancing America in assisting businesses to get back online, supporting jobs, and generating economic growth. NATA will track this initiative on its website, please check back periodically to find out where we land next.

In addition to the General Aviation Advancing America gatherings, NATA Executive Staff members held successful meetings with aviation business leaders and airport management at the Long Beach Airport and Van Nuys Airport today and yesterday.

On the Regulatory Front

This week, NATA continued its longstanding engagement with the FAA on preventing misfueling and DEF contamination incidents by providing input on a draft revision to Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5230-4C. This AC provides guidance on creating, implementing, and documenting fuel fire safety programs required under FAA regulations (14 CFR 139.321). NATA has led the charge on reducing the risk of misfueling and DEF contamination incidents by providing numerous resources including www.preventmisfueling.com and directly incorporating misfueling and DEF contamination prevention training as required items in the new Safety 1st Training Center. More information on our programs is available at www.nata.aero/safety1st or by contacting us at Safety1st@nata.aero.
 
NATA also continues to work with the FAA and other agencies to support FAA’s Compliance Program. In 2015, the FAA revised agency-wide guidance to emphasize using compliance actions, including counseling or training to address violations, thereby, reserving actions such as civil penalties for more serious violations. NATA was interviewed for a study released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) completed to provide recommendations to ensure the program’s effectiveness. NATA supports the collaborative and problem-solving approaches to safety that are key to the FAA Compliance Program and was pleased to be asked to be part of this study.
 
We hope that you have visited one of NATA’s social media channels today to see how your Association has worked hard to advance aviation businesses for the past 80 years. We look forward to continuing to celebrate the industry’s achievements for years to come.    

Best,TOSignature
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

August 25, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

The Senate and House have left town, having not yet reached a deal on the next round of COVID relief legislation. Complicating negotiations is a multi-trillion dollar delta between the chambers’ respective spending totals. NATA is continuing to speak daily with Members of Congress and key congressional Committees to advocate for the best interests of our industry and work to try to make sure NATA members are a part of the equation.
 
Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation ordered the suspension of all charter flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba, with the possibility of narrow exceptions for authorized public charters to and from Havana and other authorized charter flights for emergency medical purposes, search and rescue, and “other travel deemed to be in the interest of the United States,” which will have to be approved by DOT.  The order allows a 60-day “wind down” period, and will go into effect for most charter operators beginning October 13th. If you are concerned that this will impact your operations, please contact NATA staff immediately at covid@nata.aero.
 
NATA is pleased to have kicked off our General Aviation Advancing America initiative with our first meetings taking place at general aviation airports across Colorado. NATA’s Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack met with key stakeholders in each location to discuss challenges in today’s environment, opportunities for growth, the increase in activity they are seeing, and how they are working to foster a safe and clean environment for the traveling public. General Aviation Advancing America also works to highlight the significant economic impact to regions. For example, general aviation activity at Greeley-Weld County Airport, our second stop of the day, infuses more than $125 million to their local economy. I’m looking forward to joining Ryan on our upcoming stops in California and Nevada to tell more of these great stories about General Aviation. We are pleased to see our members’ excitement surrounding this initiative and we thank our Colorado hosts and long-time members like Jeff Kohlman for their support.
 
Earlier this week, we announced a partnership with FlightAware in support of the CleanFlying coalition, a not-for-profit group of private aviation stakeholders who are committed to promoting and implementing best health practices in the post COVID-19 era for the safety of passengers. The CleanFlying coalition was formed with a focus on sharing health safety measures undertaken by the business aviation community that will help drive demand and utilization of private aviation. The mission and work of the CleanFlying Coalition amplifies NATA’s commitment to promoting adherence to the highest standard of health and safety in protecting what matters most — employees, clients, corporate assets, and the general public. We are proud to be a part of an industry-wide movement dedicated to supporting a safe journey. This is just one more way that NATA and our industry partners are working to help our members tell their great stories. We encourage all businesses supporting private flying to visit www.CleanFlying.aero and consider joining the coalition. 
 
We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of resources that NATA has made available to assist you in telling your story to members of the media. NATA’s Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Jonathon Freye offers advice on how to define the rules of engagement, stay on message, navigate speaking on & off record, and more. Watch “Communicating with the Press: A How-To Guide” on our YouTube channel and read his article in the latest issue of the Aviation Business Journal.
 
We are here for you and encourage you to help us take this important opportunity to shape the unique and impactful message of how general aviation advances America.

Best,

TOSignature
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

August 25, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

Today, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) announced the launch of a new initiative called “General Aviation Advancing America.” At cities throughout the U.S., NATA leadership will join in and facilitate focus groups consisting of essential community and aviation stakeholders to discuss how rural airports serve as a runway for economic development, job recovery, and emergency response. General Aviation Advancing America is designed to encourage open dialogue among key participants on how general aviation stakeholders facilitate the success of the community. Another goal of these gatherings is to generate ideas on how general aviation businesses and general aviation airports can work together to demonstrate and communicate the significant, meaningful contributions of the airport and its tenant businesses during this time of challenge and change. Visit www.fly.nata.aero/GeneralAviationAdvancingAmerica to register for an upcoming event or reach out to NATA SVP Ryan Waguespack at ryanw@nata.aero if you would like to host an upcoming General Aviation Advancing America gathering at your airport.


NATA Works to Clarify Recently Published Federal Excise Tax Proposed Rules

NATA and our industry partners worked for several years to maintain the historical non-taxable status of traditional aircraft management services. This culminated in the passage of legislation in 2017 affirmatively stating that amounts paid by aircraft owners for aircraft management services are not subject to the commercial FET.

In May 2018, we asked the IRS to address certain topics related to application of the exemption that needed clarity. Last Friday, the IRS published an NPRM addressing the exemption from commercial FET for aircraft management services. Comments on the rule are accepted through September 29, 2020.

In our review of the proposal, several helpful clarifications are provided. The IRS explains that:

  • Owners choosing to have their personal flights operated under Part 135 still qualify for the exemption
  • The exemption still applies if owners allow their aircraft to be used for third-party charters (the commercial FET of course still applies to the amounts paid by the charterer)
  • The method or manner of billing an owner does not impact applicability of the exemption
  • If the exemption applies, the “Possession, Command and Control” test does not

 NATA is actively participating in discussions with the IRS, where we hope to address the following areas to ensure operators providing management services are given clear direction and to which we may propose changes in our comments, including:

  • IRS limits who an “aircraft owner” is, restricting the ability for related parties to make payments for services on the owner’s behalf. These limits may cause concerns for the management company because they will need to have clarity on who is paying in order to know if the taxes should be assessed.
  • IRS includes a provision that carriers have primary liability for payment of taxes. This would mean that if the IRS determines a tax was due and the carrier failed to collect and remit it that the carrier is liable for those amounts.

The NRPM also includes several provisions to remove obsolete regulations and update rules to reflect current law.

Members are encouraged to obtain and review the NRPM. To provide members the latest insight and analysis, NATA’s FET FAQs | Ask the Experts Webinar will now take place on a new date next week. Join us on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. EDT for a review of the current FET holiday and updated information on the NRPM. We thank Priester Aviation for their sponsorship of this webinar.
 


Regulatory Progress

NATA’s regulatory team remains engaged with the agencies to address the unique needs of our membership with an important recent development in crew member extensions that NATA requested on behalf of our members.

  • Last Thursday, the FAA granted NATA’s request for an extension to exemptions regarding certain crew training and checking requirements. NATA’s continued engagement with the FAA is crucial as the lifting of restrictions remains fluid and we move toward a gradual return to operations. NATA and its members applaud the efforts of the FAA for addressing the needs of the industry. This collaboration ensures air transportation availability and continued aviation safety. The two exemptions, available to all Part 119 certificated carriers operating under Part 135, were initially granted to NATA in late March and were previously extended in May. The new extension for Exemption No. 18509B extends the date until November 30, 2020, and Exemption No. 18510B extends the date to December 31, 2020.
  • NATA continues to be engaged with TSA in regular meetings of the Insider Threat Subcommittee of the Aviation Security Advisory Council (ASAC).  The subcommittee is monitoring TSA progress in implementing the original 21 recommendations developed and submitted to TSA on mitigating various aspects of security threats posed by “insiders.”  The subcommittee meets regularly to continue developing recommendations and best practices to mitigate additional threats.
  • NATA staff and members are part of an industry group participating in discussions with TSA to identify ways Standard Security Programs can be most effectively implemented in charter operations.  The group is highlighting key operational differences in the operation of purpose-built business aircraft compared to Part 121 air carriers and how those differences can be best accommodated to ensure compliance with security programs.
  • The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently communicated a reminder for operators that international travel restrictions are still in place as part of the COVID-19 response efforts. Specifically, Americans returning to the US after visiting China, Iran, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and countries in the Schengen area within 14 days of arrival in the US must use one of the fifteen designated “funneling airports” as the first point of arrival in the US. Those airports are JFK, ORD, SFO, SEA, HNL, LAX, ATL, IAD, EWR, DFW, DTW, BOS, MIA, FLL, and IAH. If the flight is NOT arriving from a restricted country, they may land at any port of entry unless there are passengers on board with nexus to any of the restricted countries in the past 14 days.

Aviation Business Journal – Summer Issue Provides Operational Guidance in a Changing Environment

We are pleased to release the Summer edition of the Aviation Business Journal (ABJ). This issue is full of important advice and information to assist our members in navigating the current climate, adapting to changes in the business environment, and pushing through recovery. Highlights of the Summer ABJ include, Atlantic Aviation’s quick action plan for confronting COVID-19, Ross Aviation’s guidance for international operations in a pandemic, the team at NATACS’ insight into insider threats, Dr. Goodheart’s discussion of safety performance measures, MySky’s Jean de Looz covers steps for successful aircraft management, and AirDocs provides critical information on recognizing the symptoms of hypoxia. In addition, NATA provides guidance on how to safety span the distance with the inclusion of our popular Safety 1st Clean standard, insight from Chairman Curt Castagna on working together to make meaningful change, direct access to the NFPA 409 Fire Marshal Toolkit, and expert advice from Jonathon Freye on communicating with the press.

With General Aviation Advancing America, NATA is seizing a unique opportunity to showcase the immense value airports and general aviation businesses contribute to their regions. Without your crucial businesses, the essential roles that general aviation fulfills will cease, leaving a serious void in disaster relief capabilities and diminishing the support of growth and prosperity in many cities. NATA has existed for 80 years in service to aviation businesses and we’ve elevated our efforts on all fronts to continue advancing your business no matter what the climate or circumstance. Please contact NATA at covid@nata.aero if we can be of assistance.

Best,TOSignature
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

July 24, 2020

July 22, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

I’d like to take the opportunity to update you on some recent moves by the Senate Commerce Committee and the EPA, as well as NATA to protect the industry and the environment. The Senate Commerce committee held a markup today, during which they approved Joel Szabat to be DOT’s undersecretary of transportation for policy, a position which has been vacant for over a year. The committee also approved, S. 4162 (116), which would use 2018 or 2019 data to allocate airport funding for the next few years so that Airport Improvement grants aren’t lowered because of the pandemic-induced decline in air travel. The committee also advanced, S. 3958 (116), which would allow the use of incentive payments to expedite certain federally-financed airport development projects.

The US Environmental Protection Agency today released its proposal setting fuel efficiency standards for aircraft engines, bringing the U.S. in line with rules set by the International Civil Aviation Organization to reduce CO2. The proposed rule would allow EPA to certify engines made by Boeing or other U.S. aircraft makers as compliant with ICAO standards set in 2016. Without the rule, Boeing, the largest U.S. exporter, would have to obtain those certifications from other countries in order to export its engines.

Earlier this week, NATA announced the establishment of an Environment Committee to assist the Association’s policy priorities and highlight the achievements of aviation businesses to build on efficiency gains, sustainability, and other efforts to reduce its environmental impact. The move to elevate this group from a subcommittee to a standalone committee further highlights the importance that sustainability and the environment play in the operation of aviation businesses, allowing a powerful connection between policymakers and aviation stakeholders.
 
The committee will address initiatives including SAF, solar power and battery storage systems, PFAS remediation, 100LL alternative fuels, FBO and aviation facility infrastructure efficiencies for aircraft operations, and aircraft noise mitigation technologies. NATA and its membership are leaders in taking action to further reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. We believe that the adoption and implementation of environmental best practices, carbon reduction, and sustainability measures will be imperative to the future success of aviation businesses. With both the federal and state lawmakers having an increased focus on environmental legislation, NATA’s Environment Committee will play a critical leadership role as NATA works with lawmakers and federal, state and local governments to ensure that aviation businesses are part of and shaping the discussion. We are encouraged by the outpouring of support and eagerness of our members to participate on this new committee. If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Megan Eisenstein at meisenstein@nata.aero.
 
NATA remains active as issue experts in industry discussions on safety, including those highlighting the risks of illegal charter operations. On Tuesday, NATA SVP Ryan Waguespack joined the FAA and other industry leaders for a session on the risks and rules related to air taxi and ride-sharing. A recording of the live session broadcasted on the FAA social media channels can be found here. Earlier that day, Waguespack and NATA’s Managing Director of Safety and Training Michael France participated on the “Air-GA Safety Amid a Global Pandemic” webinar hosted by the International Union of Aerospace Insurers. Waguespack and France spoke to a worldwide audience of underwriters on safety concerns, industry trends, and analysis of ground handling and air charter operations in a volatile market, including issues related to regulatory compliance and the increased risks of Illegal charter operations. On July 23 at 10 a.m. EDT, NATA Training and Content Manager Steve Berry will participate in the Greater Washington Business Aviation Association Virtual Safety Spotlight presented by Bombardier. Steve will cover the issue of fuel contamination as part of the hot topics panel. Registration for this event is available here.  
 
Additionally, NATA’s Views from the Ramp video podcast provides opportunities to hear about current events specific to aviation businesses. The latest edition features a discussion between NATA’s Michael France and Terry Yeomans, Program Director for the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH), on the purpose, history and current state of the IS-BAH – a set of global industry best practices for business aviation ground handlers that features at its core a safety management system.
 
We also continue to see more aviation businesses adopting and adhering to the Safety 1st Clean standard, with over 100 locations on our registry. Find out how you can join their ranks here.  
 
NATA is your advocate. We are here for you, contact us at covid@nata.aero.

Best,
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Letter from President & CEO Timothy Obitts

July 24, 2020

July 16, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

The NATA team remains in contact on behalf of our members with Treasury, IRS, FAA, and other agencies on all relief-related matters. Today, NATA leadership held a teleconference with representatives from the Department of Treasury as we continue to respond to our members’ questions about the implementation of the Department’s relief programs. Within the last 48 hours, the Department published payroll support and loan program guidance documents that address many of NATA members’ specific questions.  
 
A number of members have contacted NATA in response to an e-mail from Treasury that says their application may need additional review for underwriting eligibility. During our conversation, the Department stressed that the e-mail was intended simply as a status update, it does not mean that an application is under review, and that if additional information is needed, they will be in contact. The Department believes these reviews will be completed within the next two weeks.
 
Specific to the loan program, the Department has been processing all applications that they have received. While they have announced nonbinding letters of intent to the larger air carriers, there’s still “an enormous amount of work that needs to be done,” and no loans have been issued to date. In the next 24 hours, all loan applicants will be contacted. The Department believes many of them will be eligible for the Main Street Lending Program administered by the Federal Reserve, and run through commercial banks, and that they will be advising applicants to the Treasury loan program to consider the Main Street Lending Program because, in many cases, the terms may be more favorable.
 
As COVID-19-related regulatory hurdles persist, NATA is also advocating for relief for our members that prioritizes operational safety. NATA recently petitioned the FAA for the following provisions:

  • An additional 3-month extension on exemptions providing additional time for completion of recurrent training and qualification activities
  • 24-month observations to be extended to 36 months
  • Consideration of alternative ways to accomplish recurrent checks

On Monday, NATA submitted a letter to the IRS to request clarification on the suspension of air transportation excise tax under I.R.C. §§ 4261 and 4271 on amounts paid between March 28, 2020, and December 31, 2020, for transportation by air of persons or property as it relates to Part 135. NATA requested clarification that flight hours purchased through a “travel card” or “jet card” and funds placed on account are recognized as amounts actually paid for air transportation during the excise tax holiday. Under this interpretation, these advance purchases would not be subject to the air transportation excise tax under I.R.C. §§ 4261 and 4271, even though the transportation may not occur until after the excise tax holiday. NATA will keep you informed of our findings.

In the meantime, to further assist our members navigate COVID-related tax relief, NATA will host the FET FAQs | Ask the Experts webinar on August 5 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. NATA SVP Ryan Waguespack will be joined by aviation tax expert Nel Stubbs, Vice President at Conklin & de Decker (a JSSI Company), to discuss the IRS excise tax holiday and what it means for air charter operators and FBOs. If you have a question or concern regarding tax relief, email ryanw@nata.aero. Our panel will address as many of your questions as possible in this informative hour-long session. Register here.
 
Finally, we are thrilled to report that more than 90 locations have self-certified as Safety 1st Clean. As the country continues to face the fallout of the health crisis, we are confident that even more locations will quickly realize the immense value in using Safety 1st Clean to confirm their own heightened standards in cleaning and disinfecting. Learn how you can join their ranks here.
 
Please continue to contact NATA for any questions or concerns related to relief, as we remain alert and proactive in addressing your needs.

Best,


Timothy Obitts

President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association 


President’s Briefing – FAA Relief Guidance for Airport Sponsors

July 13, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

As a result of the NATA advocacy team’s efforts on Capitol Hill and relationships with the FAA, guidance published by the FAA urges airport sponsors who received federal support under the CARES Act to abate – and not just to simply defer – leases and minimum annual guarantees for tenant businesses. The guidance, in part, reads “rent deferments, rather than abatements, and unjustified hurdles for consideration of relief are not as supportive of the ‘we are all in this together’ approach sponsors should take during this public health emergency.” As you know, this issue has been at the top of NATA’s policy priority list as our industry responds to the COVID pandemic, and we have had a continuous dialogue with policymakers on the importance of lease abatement. In April, NATA released a white paper titled Recommended Practices for Airport Sponsors and Commercial Aviation Businesses in Addressing Leasehold Issues in Response to COVID-19. This guide was developed for airports and commercial aeronautical businesses that are confronted with operational revenue challenges, issues with employee job retention, and financial uncertainty during these troubling times. The Association encourages efforts to establish or continue fostering collaborative approaches and solutions between airport sponsors and their commercial aeronautical tenants in addressing these challenges, including initiating open discussions regarding rent and other fee relief options during the coronavirus pandemic. We appreciate the further support of our industry by Kirk Shaffer, Associate Administrator for Airports and Kevin Wills, Director, Office of Airport Compliance and Management Analysis in the release of the latest guidance.

In yet another sign of the effectiveness of our messaging, the INVEST in America Act recently passed by the House of Representatives also contained a provision for which NATA strongly advocated that, if enacted, would allow airport sponsors to use their portion of an additional $17.5 billion in airport funding for the purpose of lease abatement. Due to the uncertainty of passing a large infrastructure bill into law this year, we will continue to advocate for this language as Congress considers additional COVID relief legislation.
 
As some COVID-19-related hurdles for our industry persist, we would like to hear from our Part 135 members as to whether they are experiencing difficulties in getting aircraft through the conformity process. Please contact our Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack at ryanw@nata.aero to share your experience on this or any other operations issue.
 
And, even in the face of the global pandemic-induced challenges created by the pandemic, the NATA-led International Illegal Charter Coalition is continuing to make progress in our efforts to combat illegal flight operations. Today, NATA met with representatives from the FAA, CBP, and the Civil Aviation Federal Agency in Mexico to further discuss illegal operations and oversight of international flights. We appreciate the agencies’ engagement and look forward to future collaboration in addressing this widespread issue.
 
NATA also continues to work with members who are experiencing delays and challenges with access to CARES money and will do so for however long it takes. Our team is in communication with the Treasury on the status of loan application processing for 135 operators and 145 repair stations. We are here for you now and in the long-run, and look forward to updating you on further progress for the industry.

Best,
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association