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.
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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
President & CEO
National Air Transportation Association