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

June 24, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

On June 22, the text of a bill, the Moving America Forward Act (H.R. 2), was introduced by the House of Representatives containing an important provision of which NATA has been on the front line to support. The legislation provides for sweeping investments in our nation’s infrastructure, including airports, and as a direct result of NATA’s advocacy campaign and relationships on Capitol Hill, would allow general aviation airport sponsors to use federal funding to waive lease obligations of tenant businesses.

The bill increases the authorization for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), and provides the funds from the Treasury. It also sets aside 4% of those funds for general aviation airports. As an eligible use of the funds for both commercial and general aviation airports the airport sponsor may use the funds for a list of items, including but not limited to debt service, employee retention, and the waiver of fees and leases for concessionaires and “other airport lessees,” which would include NATA member companies.

While NATA lobbied for a set aside for waiver or abatement of lease obligations for aviation businesses at all airports in the next COVID relief package, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I Committee) included our request partially in the infrastructure Bill.  The language provides the airport sponsor with the discretion to use the funds for lease obligation abatement or waiver for its aviation business tenants, but unfortunately uses the word “may” and not “shall.”  With this said, we are grateful to the T&I Committee for including this language.

The Moving America Forward Act is scheduled for a final vote in the House as soon as next week. As always, and especially throughout the ongoing pandemic, NATA has been in constant communication with our allies on Capitol Hill to share the value, accomplishments, and challenges of your business, and to be a proactive and effective advocate on your behalf.

Best,
Timothy Obitts

President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association


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

June 23, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

NATA has continued to actively engage with Treasury on member inquiries regarding the Payroll Support Program. At our request, Treasury provided two dedicated email addresses to assist Payroll Support Program applicants who have questions or need to submit additional documents or materials to support their applications: payrollsupportapplications@treasury.gov or caresactcompliance@treasury.gov. We are promptly relaying any feedback we receive on the application process and will continue to do so in support of our membership and the industry at-large.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, posted a revised, borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application implementing the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020, signed into law by President Trump on June 5, 2020.

In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application that applies to borrowers that:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; OR
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%, and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; OR
  • Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19, and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers.  Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form.

Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period. These changes will result in a more efficient process and make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.

Click here to view the EZ Forgiveness Application.
Click here to view the Full Forgiveness Application.

Association Developments

We recognize that our members are at the forefront of the move to restart the economy and have always played an essential role in providing critical services during times of great need. To that end, NATA continues to work hard to develop tools and resources to empower our members’ businesses and provide them an advantage as operations continue to return. We are especially pleased to bring many of these to our members at no additional charge.

We are delighted to launch a new bimonthly video and audio podcast called NATA Safety 1st – Views from the Ramp. In this informative and entertaining podcast, you will hear business and general aviation ground handling leaders, innovators, and experts discussing the latest trends, products, forecasts, and much more. Views from the Ramp speaks to the entire industry from CEO to Line Service Tech. The first episode, “Managing Safety in Changing Times,” features a discussion between Dr. Benjamin (BJ) Goodheart of Magpie Human Safety Systems and Bob Schick of TAC Air on what it means to manage safety during dramatic operational changes such as the recent COVID-19 slowdown and the restart of the economy. Blending theoretical insights and practical advice, BJ and Bob hone-in on the safety issues that matter most and what you can do to maintain safety during these changing times. You may view the podcast on our YouTube channel or opt to listen to the audio-only version on our Libsyn channel.

Last Wednesday, NATA released the Fire Marshal Toolkit and Accidental Foam Discharge Checklist as part of our Hangar Foam Fire Suppression System Initiative. An educational resource for Fire Marshals, FBO owners, and operators, the Toolkit provides vital information facilitating hangar design and construction conversations and highlighting research and frequency data on inadvertent hangar foam fire suppression system discharges. Until changes to the NFPA 409 standard are made, we believe this free resource will serve as a guide to help educate local fire marshals and hangar developers on the safety and environmental risks, as well as the potential of aircraft damage related to accidental discharges of hangar foam suppression systems. We thank Fisher Engineering for its assistance in the development of the Toolkit and all NATA members who graciously donated their expertise and financial support of the initiative.

Late last week, NATA rolled out Safety 1 st Clean – an infectious disease response cleaning standard for Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), representing industry best practices and government agency guidance. The Safety 1st Clean standard is free to the public and produced by the NATA Safety Committee and COVID Task Force to provide general guidance on facility cleaning, disinfecting, and facility operations in response to a pandemic. The goal of this standard is to safeguard FBO team members, corporate assets, and the general flying public. Safety 1st Clean also offers a self-certification process that allows FBOs to highlight their conformance to this standard by displaying the Safety 1st Clean logo. Upon completing the self-certification checklist, an FBO can send it and other required documentation outlined in the document to Safety1st@nata.aero to receive the Safety 1st Clean logo. To access this free standard, please click here. Thanks once again for those dedicated to the development of Safety 1st Clean. Safety 1st Clean is a way for the industry to coalesce around a single, comprehensive clean standard much like the industry-leading Safety 1st training. Safety 1st Clean can be achieved through the additional safety protocols and programs our members have put in place. We are seeing a surge in participation from our members and encourage all to self-certify.

The NATA team is working to bring members our popular Ground Handling Safety Symposium (GHSS) in an interactive, digital format. The event is scheduled to take place over 3 days (September 22-24, 2020) with programming taking place for (2-3) one-hour sessions spread throughout each day. We included panel discussions, key notes, case studies, and townhall-style sharing sessions. This new format allows for a continuation of the momentum this event has gained over the past few years, while maintaining the participatory spirit of the in-person GHSS and allowing additional participation from your team at each registered location.

Finally, we’d like to remind our members that our digital Annual Meeting will take place next Tuesday, June 23 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. If you have not registered to attend, please contact Shannon Chambers at schambers@nata.aero.

As always, we are honored to be at your service and exist to listen to your needs and advice on how we can best provide that service. Please contact me or any of the dedicated members of the NATA team, we are always at the ready.

Best,

TOSignature
Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association
 

Staying Connected During COVID-19

June 12, 2020

Aviation, by design, is about freedom, bringing people together, making connections, moving urgent supplies, providing essential medical services, and delivering goods to communities across the country. Some of this has been stymied by an unseen
risk…one that has swept the entire world. At this time, many locations are still weeks, if not months, away from the peak, and areas like New York, Italy, and Spain are
still reeling from the impact and aftermath of the pervasive enemy—COVID-19.

 

What is helping me and many others in our affected industry get through these seemingly endless days? The perseverance, drive, philanthropy, courage, and creativity
of our members, association volunteers, industry leaders, and the NATA team who has worked tirelessly to continue to fulfill on our mission—no matter what (read more in Ellen Miller’s article on page 26). That, along with the closeness of family and friends (albeit through video conferencing or telecon), energizes me and provides strength in forging a path forward for our members and the industry. When some industries have come to a virtual standstill, we have continued to be active on many fronts.
There has never been a more important time for the industry to speak with one voice, and that has been demonstrated through our efforts with other leading aviation associations to express the immense value of the general aviation community and the unique needs of our aviation business members. You can read more about how NATA has joined various industry partners to seek relief and clarifications on provisions allowing us to continue to operate essential services throughout this health crisis and for months to come in Jonathon Freye’s column on page 8.

Our team has been in constant discussions with Congress, the Department of Treasury, and the Federal Aviation Administration, TSA, and other agencies to advocate for assistance for all aviation businesses—Part 135, MROs, FBOs, flight schools, airports, and the list goes on. We’ve been interacting with members and nonmembers alike, by phone and through webinars, to ensure they are understanding how to participate in these programs.

NATA, along with our dedicated volunteers, has been developing relevant resources in the form of best practices, webinars, templates, and other documents to assist aviation businesses to be safe and secure during COVID-19. And, as aviation businesses explore the safest, most-expedient paths forward for their employees and customers, NATA is continuing to assist by facilitating these discussions as part of a COVID-19 task force focused on the Part 135 community. This task force will complement the important work being done by NATA’s Safety Committee in addressing operational safety concerns during the course of the pandemic and those that may lie ahead as restrictions throughout the country are lifted. NATA is pleased to serve as the bridge that unites these vital segments in ensuring the best possible operational flow for flight crew and ground-handling service professionals. Among the goals of the Part 135 COVID-19 Task Force are developing best practices for keeping flight crews safe, aircraft sanitation, and minimizing contact between the flight crews and groundhandling service professionals.
We are very pleased to have several industry experts join us for this issue of ABJ to discuss trends, key challenges, and opportunities for our industry: Craig Picken, Managing Partner, Northstar Group (page 33); Rollie Vincent, President, Rolland Vincent Associates, LLC and Creator/Director, JETNET iQ (page 64); and Mark Chambers, Managing Partner, Aviation Resource Group International (page 38). We thank them and all of our contributors for their insights into many facets of our industry.
NATA and our industry are designed to assist in making connections, but we are also focused on safety. Once we can safely meet again, we will. Until then, we wish you all the best and ask you to keep your eyes on the horizon. Better times are ahead. As always, NATA is here to help now and as you operate in the new normal.


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

June 4, 2020

June 4, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

Today, the Department of Transportation issued a final order on adjustments to service obligations, granting point exemptions to 15 covered carriers. This order provided an important opportunity for us to highlight the unique ability of general aviation in providing access and connectivity to thousands of airports around the country.

The utility of general aviation services when faced by a shrinking airline footprint is not a new topic of conversation. Lately, we are hearing that more and more communities are realizing the vital benefits that general aviation businesses provide as a critical link to services, lifeline for medical response, tool to support and mobilize their workforce, and in some cases, a means to even grow their business during a pandemic. Read NATA’s full press release here.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, legislation extending the time allotted for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for loan forgiveness. Also key to the bill is a change in the threshold for the amount of PPP funds required to be spent on payroll costs to 60% of the loan amount. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

The bill, which was drafted to fix several PPP technical issues, does the following:

–  Establishes a minimum maturity of five years for a paycheck protection loan with a remaining balance after forgiveness;
–  Extends the covered period during which a loan recipient may use such funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for forgiveness;
–  Raises the non-payroll portion of a forgivable covered loan amount from the current 25% up to 40%;
–  Extends the period in which an employer may rehire or eliminate a reduction in employment, salary, or wages that would otherwise reduce the forgivable amount of a paycheck protection loan. However, the forgivable amount must be determined without regard to a reduction in the number of employees if the recipient is (1) unable to rehire former employees and is unable to hire similarly qualified employees, or (2) unable to return to the same level of business activity due to compliance with federal requirements or guidance related to COVID-19;
–  Revises the deferral period for paycheck protection loans, allowing recipients to defer payments until they receive compensation for forgiven amounts;
–  Notes that recipients who do not apply for forgiveness shall have 10 months from the program’s expiration to begin making payments;
–  Eliminates a provision that makes a paycheck protection loan recipient who has such indebtedness forgiven ineligible to defer payroll tax payments;
–  Allows businesses that took a PPP loan to also delay payment of their payroll taxes;

The full text is available here. NATA will continue to monitor the bill’s progress.

We firmly believe that as air service demand rebounds, general aviation businesses are uniquely positioned to quickly and efficiently assist in providing essential services that support and empower people, businesses, and communities nationwide. For the past 80 years, NATA has served to empower our members to be safe, secure, and efficient – a mission we share with each and every one of you.

Best,

Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association

 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – States and Municipalities Should Recognize the Unique Nature of Airport Commercial Leases

June 1, 2020

May 29, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

As we close out this important week of remembrance and reflection for those who proudly served our country, we sincerely thank them and so many of you for your service. We’d also like to take this opportunity to update you on industry developments covering several fronts.

Today, NATA submitted a letter opposing California’s SB-939 Emergencies: COVID-19: Commercial Tenancies: Evictions bill – suggesting instead that States and municipalities recognize the nuances that make airport commercial leases unique. We recommend that an airport is permitted to work individually with its commercial tenants in establishing COVID-19 relief efforts, including rent relief, without the threat of restricting their rights or the argument such actions are taking. Further, we noted that the application of any commercial eviction moratorium ordinance should NOT apply to airports because it: (1) interferes with FAA Grant Assurance compliance; (2) impairs the Airport Authority’s financial standing; (3) interferes with contractual commercial relationships; and (4) raises Airport Revenue Diversion complications for the general fund of a municipality. The bill is currently out of Committee and pending a full vote. NATA members are located at the majority of California’s 241 public-use airports, we have been closely following this issue as it has progressed from impacting municipalities to commercial tenants statewide.

NATA continues to be in contact with the Department of Treasury regarding our members’ inquiries on the CARES Act support programs. At this time, Treasury tells us that they are continuing to process Payroll Support Program for Part 135 passenger and cargo carriers. Some members are beginning to tell us that they’ve received the documentation and begun to see funding. However, based on discussions with Treasury and the trends we have seen, it appears as though they are trying to work through the air carriers first, before turning to those who applied as “contractors,” such as FBOs. However, we have heard from multiple companies that there are difficulties with the SAMS reporting system, including with reporting executive compensation as required by their agreements. Last night, the Treasury Department advised that all inquiries should be directed to CARESActCompliance@treasury.gov.

On Thursday, the House voted in favor of a bipartisan bill, titled the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, that would extend the deadline for spending Paycheck Protection Program money to 24 weeks and allow borrowers to use 60% versus 75% of their funds on payroll, while still being eligible for loan forgiveness.The measure, accounting for the need for more flexibility for small businesses, was passed by the House in a 417-1 vote. The House and Senate are expected to work on a compromise on the PPP changes in the next week or so.

Regulatory Relief

NATA had just received word today the FAA granted our request for an extension on exemptions regarding certain crew training and checking requirements. The two exemptions, available to all Part 119 certificated carriers operating under Part 135, were initially granted to NATA in late March, with  Exemption No. 18509 A extended until 07/31/2020 and Exemption No. 18510 A extended until 10/31/2020. NATA’s continued engagement with the FAA is crucial as restrictions are lifted and the country begins a gradual return to operations. In a related release, we expressed our gratitude to the FAA for understanding the needs of the industry in ensuring access to air transportation remains available and the timeline required to address the currency matters of operators.

NATA, on behalf of its members conducting air carrier operations under Part 135, requested rulemaking to amend 14 CFR 135.337 (a) (1) – (2) and (b) (1) – (2) pertaining to a check pilot’s qualifications on a specific aircraft type. NATA requested this amendment to allow an approved company check pilots to be authorized to conduct the pilot line checks required by § 135.299 throughout the certificate holder’s fleet of aircraft of the same category and class. Although we filed a petition for exemption for a limited period of time for relief for operations during COVID-19, we decided that the safety and efficiency gains afforded by this relief were beneficial enough to warrant a permanent change through a petition for rulemaking. In addition, NATA requested the FAA provide guidance specifying the suggested content for the pilot line check required by § 135.299 and has provided recommendations forthat guidance. In the petition, NATA noted the cost savings, safety improvement and efficiency gains for operators, as well as the potential positive impact on the environment.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued guidance to commercial air carriers explaining that the General Declaration (Form 7507) may be submitted electronically. Effective immediately, and for the duration of the pandemic, operators may submit the form via email to Ports of Entry (POE) nationwide. To use the electronic delivery option, operators must contact the applicable POE to obtain the correct email address and any additional instructions. Information supplied by CBP includes the electronic General Declaration guidance, a current version of Form 7507 and a detailed reference sheet correlating the information required on the form to the applicable regulation. We recommend that commercial operators carefully review the CBP guidance and follow all requirements to ensure continued compliance with CBP regulations.

Guidance for Commercial Air Carriers

General Declaration Form 7507 Citation List

U.S. CBP General Declaration

Annual Meeting and Election of New Board of Directors | Save the Date

In accordance with Article VI, Section 3 of the NATA Bylaws, the annual meeting of members will be held by videoconference on June 23, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The purpose of the meeting is for the election of directors and other issues as properly may come before the members.

While current circumstances prevent us from visiting our membership in-person for our June conferences, we look forward to connecting with many of you by videoconference on June 23 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Please send your RSVP to Shannon Chambers at schambers@nata.aero, dial-in details will be provided.

As the public and media focus on our industry continues, we ask that you assist NATA and others in spreading the word of your essential work in providing critical services, supporting humanitarian efforts, and empowering other businesses and industries to assist in restarting the economy. Please send your stories to Courtney Bishop at cbishop@nata.aero. We are pleased to highlight your important work on our website, in our newsletters, and across our social media channels.

We remain at your service and will continue to provide resources and programs to empower your safety and success now and in the months to come.

Best,

Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Air Charter Roundtables

May 20, 2020

May 20, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

The provisions of regulatory relief and continued guidance that would provide small businesses with the confidence to re-open were addressed in a recently released Executive Order. These are just two of the key areas where NATA has been active in supporting our members to move forward.

NATA has been working closely with the FAA to advocate for extensions on regulatory relief that will assist our members as restrictions continue to be lifted and business begins to ramp up. We will continue to monitor the status of these requests and report back to you.

Recently, NATA joined a coalition of leading industry groups in a letter expressing concern about a CBP proposal that was provided with little notice, outlining an increase in rates user fee-funded airports pay for customs services. The industry groups note that the increase is coming “at a time when revenues at these airports have been devastated by dramatic decrease in international traffic due to COVID-19.” The letter also points out that “ airports should be given sufficient time to understand and plan for the cost increase.” Read the letter in its entirety.

Today, NATA’s Safety Committee and Part 135 COVID Task Force released guidance for FBOs and Aircraft Operators in the form of best practices and standardized protocols for COVID-19 management during the transition back to “normal operations.” The guidance emphasizes that establishing standard protocols and adhering to them is SAFETY CRITICAL in creating consistent handling and habits. We encourage all FBOs and aircraft operators to join as an industry in adhering to this guidance.

Our Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack also kicked off the first in a monthly series of online Air Charter Roundtables developed to encourage engagement and discussion of topics related to assisting our members in forging ahead.

Finally, NATA and NBAA worked together to respond to a story recently published by Bloomberg titled, “Luxury Jets in Florida, Sea Planes in Alaska Get Virus Aid.” While the authors did include just a few of the points made by NATA in reference to the steep decline in business for our industry and the reality that most of our members are small businesses, they failed to mention the immense importance of the jobs and, even more so, the people represented by our industry.

In our letter to the editor, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and I emphasized why it is so critical for aviation businesses to be included in relief programs “companies have widely halted business travel, causing charter flights to fall so dramatically that air-taxi providers have requested aid for the same reason countless other small businesses have taken the same step: to keep employees on the job.”

I would like to thank Ed and his team at NBAA for working with us to not only advocate for much needed relief for our industry, but also to combat misconceptions regarding aviation business. We at NATA firmly believe that aviation businesses will play a critical role in restarting the U.S. economy and will continue to provide essential services.

We stand behind our words that our industry is all about the people and connections we enable. Once restrictions are lifted, more businesses will turn to our industry as a safe and sanitary mode of transport. NATA is here to advocate for you and help prepare you for what’s next. As I have stated previously, we are all in this together. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best,


Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association

 


NATA COVID-19: HEROES ACT

May 14, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a sweeping, $3 trillion bill aimed at providing another round of stimulus assistance to the American economy. The bill is titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act). House Democrats drafted the 1,800-page bill without input from Republicans, making the bill’s prospects for passage nearly nonexistent. Despite vocal partisan opposition, the Speaker has signaled her intent to bring it to the House floor for a likely party-line vote as soon as Friday.

The bill includes a few aviation-related provisions. First, due to concerns about the solvency of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund (AATF) in light of the federal excise tax holiday enacted in the CARES Act, the HEROES Act would provide additional funding for fiscal year 2020 activities from the General Fund of the Treasury.

One key provision of the bill would seek to extend the prohibition on involuntary furloughs of employees of airlines or contractors that receive financial assistance (i.e., payroll grant) under the CARES Act through full exhaustion of such assistance, rather than ending on September 30, 2020, as initially enacted in the CARES Act.

Under the HEROES Act, the Department of Transportation would be required to lead an inter-agency effort to develop a national aviation preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks. The bill requires that plan to cover Federal, State, and local governments, as well as airports, airlines, and other aviation industry and labor stakeholders.

A proposal that NATA is tracking closely would require the Department of Treasury to publish descriptions of each issued grant issued under Title IV of the CARES Act, including the grant recipient and amount, on the Department’s public website. NATA is seriously concerned about protecting any information that applicants consider confidential and vital to their business’ competitiveness. As our discussions with Capitol Hill continue, we will strongly urge lawmakers to consider the implications of this provision.

A number of other provisions in the bill apply only to Part 121 air carriers and focus on the safety and health of air crew, passengers, and FAA employees as the pandemic continues. As always, NATA continues to remain engaged on Capitol Hill and will keep you apprised of developments.

NATA also has been at work this month to provide opportunities for our members to discuss ways to overcome the current challenges and looking for opportunities as the country moves toward restrictions being lifted. Be sure to join us next Tuesday at 2:00 PM EDT for a webinar led by David Hernandez of Vedder Price, addressing PSP and PPP compliance and audit risks on the eve of the PPP loan forgiveness and the first PSP quarterly report. Air carriers agreed to a wide variety of broad certifications and compliance obligations. The failure to comply with these obligations has severe consequences, including civil and criminal prosecution. To audit and enforce compliance, the government created an Office of Special Inspector General with very broad investigation and prosecutorial authority modeled after TARP OIG, which resulted in 381 convictions and recovery of $11 billion. Register today for this informative webinar.

On Wednesday at 11:00 AM, NATA’s Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack will lead a virtual discussion on what’s next for the industry titled, “Air Charter Roundtable: Forging Ahead.” Ryan will be joined by a panel including business aviation consultants, operators, and air charter brokers. Register here.

The Safety 1st team continued its series of May webinars today with an episode on fuel QC during COVID-19. With the dramatic decrease in refueling operations and, in many cases, reductions in staff, there is an increased potential for fuel quality related issues. This impactful webinar covered the risks associated with “low-use” refueling equipment and the simple mitigations you can use to reduce them. You can access the recording here and view the rest of the series here.  Yesterday, NATA’s Chris Baum provided an overview of the Special Federal Aviation Regulation recently published by the FAA, the recording of that webinar is available here.

This week, we were also pleased to release the spring issue of the  Aviation Business Journal We invite you to stay informed of the current state of the industry and gain important business intelligence to navigate the road ahead. If we can be of assistance, please contact us at  covid@nata.aero.

Best,

Timothy Obitts
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Looking Ahead

May 11, 2020

May 8, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

NATA has been fielding inquiries from members and nonmembers alike that range from simple to seemingly monumental questions, and we welcome them all. Our team has been on the front line for aviation businesses since the very beginning and will remain in service every step of the way. This journey also includes actively looking-ahead for opportunities post-pandemic to expand the market and continuously innovate to stay ahead of the curve in providing the most relevant services.

To that end, here are a sampling of areas where we are concentrating:

– This week, NATA submitted a statement to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the impacts of COVID-19 discussing the business aviation industry and outlining policy recommendations. Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) convened a hearing to receive an update on the current status of the aviation industry, address challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and examine the implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). We were grateful to have the opportunity to highlight the unique services, support, and workforce development provided by aviation businesses and the fact that many of these businesses supporting rural America did not receive assistance under Title IV.

– Yesterday, NATA led a constructive discussion between 135 operators and FBOs regarding best practices and guidelines for operations across the industry, as considerations for lifting restrictions continue throughout the country. We are making great progress and will look to roll out this guidance to our members over the next few weeks.

– Our staff remains in contact with the Department of Treasury to express the concerns of our members and the urgent need for timely relief. If you have any feedback on your experience, please let us know at covid@nata.aero.

– NATA will hold a webinar at 2:00 p.m. Eastern next Tuesday on the FAA SFAR that was recently released due, in part, to NATA’s request for regulatory relief for our members operating during COVID-19. Join NATA’s Chris Baum for a review of the most salient points for our membership of this comprehensive provision package. You can register to attend here.

– NATA continues to engage with the FAA on the current relief provisions and how they will impact our members as restrictions are gradually relaxed.

– We will host a webinar, featuring David Hernandez with Vedder Price, addressing Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness and preparation for the first PPP reporting. More details will follow.

– NATA’s Safety 1st Team kicked off their first webinar in our May series this week (access the recording here) and we will continue with the next installment on fuel QC on May 13.

– To expand our support, we are continuing our Summer Intern program and will be welcoming Laura Sobeski to the NATA team on Monday. I’m sure you will get a chance to meet her at least virtually over the coming weeks as she assists us with many programs and initiatives already in place and others that will be launching soon.

If you haven’t already, we hope that you will soon see relief and a boost to your business. Rest assured that NATA will be beside you as we navigate the path forward.

Best,

Timothy Obitts
NATA President and CEO

 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – Safety 1st Webinars

May 6, 2020

May 6, 2020

Earlier, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) convened a hearing titled, “The State of the Aviation Industry: Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” to receive an update on the current status of the aviation industry, address challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and examine the implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). NATA was pleased to submit a statement to the Committee discussing the impacts of COVID-19 and outlining policy recommendations for relief that would best assist aviation businesses like yours.

Our statement highlighted that “Commercial aviation in the U.S. can only function because it is a part of an interconnected industry that relies heavily on a general aviation workforce for supply chain, service, support, and workforce development.”

We outlined the unique services provided by aviation businesses that often serve as essential lifelines to rural America and the fact that many of your businesses did not receive assistance under Title IV, which prioritized the commercial airline industry.

The statement notes that lease obligations represent one of the largest vulnerabilities during times of reduced aviation activity. But because the airport sponsors rely on this revenue to finance the day-to-day operation of the airport itself, when tenants are unable to meet payroll obligations and the terms of their tenancy agreement with their airport sponsors, it imperils the ability of the airport to operate safely and efficiently.

Further, NATA recommends Departments of Treasury and Transportation to analyze the amount of airport sponsors’ revenues that account from the lease obligations of certain tenant businesses, and then to provide a level of relief equal to that amount with the requirement that airport sponsors abate lease obligations over the term of the assistance provided.

The recommendations provided in our statement are based the experiences of many of you with the implementation of the CARES Act, and a potentially lengthy recovery period. We thank Chairman Wicker and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for their engagement on this issue and for allowing us to highlight the status of aviation businesses and the challenges you face. Our full statement can be found here.

Aircraft Ops – SFAR 118 – Training, Checking & Testing Relief Webinar | Tuesday, May 12 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern

Next Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, NATA will hold a webinar to discuss temporary relief recently granted by the FAA to a number of training, checking and testing requirements to accommodate current restrictions in place. Many operations critical to the pandemic response can continue to be operated under specific conditions. This webinar will provide an overview of the Special Federal Aviation Regulation recently published by the FAA and afford attendees an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions. Register here.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Today, NATA’s Michael France kicked off a series of Safety 1st webinars that will be held every Wednesday in May at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. These information-packed webinars allow your team to continue their professional development during COVID-19. Each webinar is offered at no charge and will be 30-40 minutes in length, allowing time for questions at the end. The recording of today’s webinar is available here: Supercharge Employee Development with the Structured Training Model & Safety 1st. 

Wednesday, May 13
Fuel QC During COVID-19

Wednesday, May 20
Getting the Most from the New Safety 1st Training Center

Wednesday, May 27
Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures

NATA will continue to keep you apprised of developments. Visit NATA’s Coronavirus Resource Page for updates and contact us at covid@nata.aero.

 


NATA COVID-19 Briefing – FAA SFAR

April 30, 2020

April 29, 2020

Dear Aviation Business Professional:

NATA continues to work on your behalf, and at times through collaborations with other leading aviation associations, to shed light on existing relief programs and communicate the need for provisions to ensure continued operations for the industry. Today, NATA, along with the National Business Aviation Association and Helicopter Association International, sent an inquiry to the Secretary of Treasury to ask the Department to provide a timeline for decision on payments to applicants for the Payroll Support Program for air carriers, air cargo and contractors. The group also asked Treasury to provide applicants a point of contact for inquiries on the status of their application. We will remain engaged and keep you apprised of any developments.

I also want to share a bit of good news for aviation businesses. Earlier, NATA and the industry welcomed a comprehensive Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rulemaking package in the form of a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR), addressing a number of our requests for relief.

We were pleased to see the release of this SFAR in recognition of operational challenges during this crisis and appreciate that the FAA listened to NATA and the industry in providing this relief. According to the FAA, “this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to persons who have been unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. This relief allows operators to continue to use pilots and other crewmembers in support of essential operations during this period. Additionally, this SFAR provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and renewal requirements due to the outbreak. This rule also allows certain air carriers and operators to fly temporary overflow aircraft, a need resulting from the outbreak, to a point of storage pursuant to a special flight permit with a continuing authorization.”

NATA would like to acknowledge the amazing work of the FAA in issuing a rulemaking of this scale in such a short amount of time. We will continue to work with the FAA and other agencies to communicate your needs now, in the coming days as new challenges are identified, and in the future when restrictions begin to be lifted.

NATA will follow up with its members on specifics of the SFAR that apply to their operations. If you have any questions, please email NATA at covid@nata.aero .

Best,

Timothy Obitts

NATA President and CEO