March 22, 2020
Dear Aviation Business Leader:
I would like to thank our members for their ongoing support and diligence in assisting NATA with our efforts to advocate for aviation businesses. To keep you informed, our legislative team prepared the following update on the progress of the latest relief bill:
The Senate’s latest coronavirus proposal would extend relief to some general aviation businesses. The latest draft of the coronavirus stimulus bill introduced in the Senate is similar in scope to the original proposal. While for the past two days it had appeared as though negotiations were going well between the House and Senate on a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus aid bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today announced that the House would prepare its own bill, but hoped that it would be “compatible” with the Senate’s proposal.
While NATA is very pleased that this legislation proposes to make Part 135 operators eligible for the $50 billion in loan guarantees for air carriers, the bill does not offer such assistance directly to other aviation service providers like fixed base operators (FBOs), Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul stations, or flight schools, which may be eligible under a much broader loan guarantee package also in the bill, though there is little guidance as to which businesses could receive such assistance. In addition, the plan would permit DOT to require any air carrier accepting assistance to maintain “scheduled air transportation service” to anywhere deemed necessary through March 1, 2022. Large
commercial service airports will receive almost $10 billion in the bill, with only $100 million reserved for general aviation airports.
NATA strongly advocated for relief for other aviation service providers in the Senate’s bill, found in our request to Congress. The House has already begun working on their version of the next stimulus legislation, and an early outline of the aviation relief section mirrored the Senate by making assistance available for Part 135 operators. NATA is actively discussing our requests with key members of the House of Representatives, and will continue to push hard for assistance to the broader network of general aviation businesses.
The Senate’s bill is still under negotiation, after the Senate failed today to clear a key procedural hurdle on the $1.6 trillion emergency rescue package to address the coronavirus crisis. We ask that NATA’s membership continue to unite as one voice and contact your member of Congress immediately. Your personal outreach to your elected representatives is critical as Congress is continuing to negotiate a coronavirus aid package. It is imperative that your business is included. We are asking for your assistance in delivering that message by contacting your Members of the House of Representatives right away. For your convenience, we’ve provided instructions below, along with a sample letter that you can copy and paste.
INSTRUCTIONS AND SAMPLE LETTER TO CONGRESS:
To find your member of the House of Representative, go to www.house.gov. In the upper right-hand corner, enter your zip code. On the next page, clicking on the representative’s name under their picture will take you to their website. You should use the “Contact” tab to send them an e-mail. Be sure to attach NATA’s requested provisions to the COVID-19 relief legislation to your letter.
As you pursue assistance for the financial burdens upon the aviation industry as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we ask that you give serious consideration to the crucial role of general aviation service providers to rural America and hot spots affected by the virus. My company is one of the many small businesses, which are part of an industry that supports 1.2 million jobs and provides over $247 billion in economic output. Given the large uncommitted balance of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF), which is funded in whole by aviation businesses like mine, we believe the federal government should provide loan guarantees and assume lease obligations for essential aviation businesses through the end of this fiscal year. In addition, and in light of the surplus, we also believe an excise tax holiday for aviation fuel sales is warranted.
An essential lifeline to rural America, general aviation companies operate at nearly 4,500 airports and thousands of cities which are not served at all by the airlines. In times of crisis, they are best equipped to provide lifesaving support and time sensitive supplies.
General aviation service providers such as on-demand air carriers, fixed base operators (FBOs), and flight schools are the lynchpin that provide important connections and services to small and rural communities. Without these crucial businesses, the essential roles that GA fulfills will cease, leaving a serious void in disaster relief capabilities and diminishing the support of growth and prosperity in these locations
The over 2,000 on demand air carriers in the U.S. operate a diverse fleet of over 10,600 registered aircraft spread across all 50 states and territories, according to the most recent statistics from the Federal Aviation Administration. They provide vital transport of medicines and testing supplies, medical personnel and patients in need of specialized care, time sensitive medical infrastructure, and other critical functions such as organ transplants. These companies fly over 3 million flight hours per year and have considerable experience operating in times of crisis.
FBOs facilitate the movement of general aviation aircraft, particularly emergency response flights. The industry’s 3,661 FBOs are mainly small businesses located at thousands of public use airports across the nation. In past times of crisis, FBOs have served as critical staging hubs for general aviation operations benefiting the public.
Supporting all of this activity is a network of 5,100 Part 145 aircraft repair stations. These businesses keep general aviation moving, helping to ensure the safety and airworthiness of all aircraft.
Thank you for your time and consideration for an industry that helps support our communities and the nation in so many vital ways.
Your name here
As always, thank you for your support and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or to provide feedback.
NATA President and CEO