Things are finally returning to normal in Washington now that last month’s government shutdown is over.
As you all know very well, the shutdown hurt the general aviation industry and cost our members jobs and revenue. We heard from many of you – loud and clear – and as a result, we went to work on your behalf. This feedback allowed us to take your stories to Capitol Hill, where Jim Coon joined others in our industry calling on Congress to reopen the government. We also joined general aviation leaders in writing a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging him to reopen the FAA’s aircraft registry. Our messages were clear. General Aviation commerce is grinding to a halt and action is needed now.
Looking ahead, we must move forward. NATA, along with our industry colleagues, have pledged to help the FAA prioritize its requests for approval, so that the most important ones are completed first. In addition, we are working with the FAA to reduce the impact of federal shutdowns should they occur in the future. This effort is in the good hands of our seasoned head of regulatory affairs, John McGraw.
On another front, NATA was asked to testify about the FAA’s aircraft certification process before the House Aviation Subcommittee. I told the committee that many of our members are concerned about a lack of consistent interpretation in the FAA’s operational approval processes. I stressed that when the FAA does not apply regulations consistently, it can affect the competitiveness of companies. It also can cause confusion and force aviation companies to redirect limited human and monetary resources – resources that would be better spent on improving aviation safety.
Another topic covered in the testimony was our industry’s concern about the existing outdated certification processes that hamper the introduction of new technology. The rapid evolution of modern technology is, in many cases, outpacing the FAA’s legacy certification processes. New standards need to be performance-based, so that the industry can quickly innovate without the FAA having to change the rules each time technology advances. The FAA has already seen success with this method for small aircraft, and we believe similar success is possible for larger general aviation and commercial aircraft.
NATA will continue to urge key decision-makers to work expeditiously to resolve issues that you bring to our attention.
I want to thank you for letting us know how the shutdown impacted your businesses and your bottom line.
Please remember that, when we speak with one voice, we are a potent voice in Washington and around the country.