NATA Shifts Focus to Charter Industry

May 16, 2013

It’s been a busy spring at NATA! We just wrapped up our Aviation Business and Legislative Conference and are working hard to ensure the upcoming Air Charter Summit is an informative and exciting event. This year the Air Charter Summit is June 17-19 at the Marriott Dulles near Dulles International Airport. The on-demand air charter operators are a significant part of the NATA membership; and, due to their status as commercial air carriers, it seems there is always something new affecting them on the regulatory front. The daily impact Washington has on these businesses is precisely why the Air Charter Summit is one of NATA’s most popular annual events. As you read this edition of the Aviation Business Journal, you’ll learn about the issues critical to our air charter members and the initiatives NATA is pursuing to address the needs of this segment of our membership.

Ask most air charter operators about their biggest concerns and the impact of the IRS’ actions to collect commercial transportation excise taxes on amounts paid by aircraft owners for management services is bound to come up. Over the last few months, NATA staff has led a strong effort to help IRS officials better understand the complexities and differences with respect to aircraft management practices and how the term “possession, command and control” actually applies when an aircraft owner uses contract management services. I want to thank and recognize Marian Epps with Epps Aviation and Nel Stubbs with Conklin & deDecker for their invaluable participation in this effort. We’ve made significant progress over the last few weeks and believe IRS officials recognize the need for clear and precise guidance with respect to how commercial taxes apply in this area. We will continue to collaborate with the IRS toward creating new guidance that will address our industry’s concerns. While the publication of new guidance is a critical need, the on-going audit efforts by the IRS to collect these taxes retroactively are also an immediate concern for many operators. Our staff is asking IRS officials not to collect these taxes retroactively because of the need for clarity in the guidelines. We are also requesting the agency stay or delay audits where aircraft management costs are at issue, until such time that new guidance is developed. We will give a comprehensive update on this issue at the Air Charter Summit.

Finally, as we approach Memorial Day our thoughts rightly focus on the sacrifices made by the members our military forces. Given the unique aspects of NATA members’ businesses, they are in a position to offer aid and support to those who have sacrificed so much in support of our freedoms. At the 2013 Air Charter Summit, and throughout the year, NATA is continuing its support of the Veteran’s Airlift Command (VAC). This incredible organization coordinates free travel on private aircraft for our wounded warriors. To make a donation, visit http://www.nata.aero and follow the VAC link on our homepage. Also, as we did last year, NATA is sponsoring a charity raffle at the Air Charter Summit to support the VAC. I hope that all Air Charter Summit attendees will participate to support this very special program. See you there!

Article originally appeared in Aviation Business Journal.