President's Perspective

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Unprecedented Times, Extraordinary Actions

Our industry this year has been buffeted by an unforgiving marketplace that has cost thousands of jobs and reduced economic activity across general aviation (GA). The downturn also has been accompanied by misperceptions about business aviation that have undermined this important American industry.

Consequently, we at NBAA have redoubled our efforts to advocate for policies that enhance your ability to use your aircraft for business.

For example, NBAA's partnership with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign is making substantial inroads in communicating the value of business aviation through news stories and advertising in a host of media outlets. The campaign also has engaged new media, building upon a comprehensive web site with a presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to put forward the true face of business aviation.

While NBAA will remain steadfast in communicating the value of the industry to the nation's economy and transportation system, the Association continues to work on long-standing policy priorities. Certainly, our work includes passage of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation that contains sufficient funding for the next generation air traffic control system, or NextGen. We are pleased that the House of Representatives has passed the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009, which builds upon the fuel tax for GA to help support the FAA and continued aviation system transformation.

In addition, NBAA has been leading the industry's response on security issues, including the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA's) Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) proposal, and also the agency's security "badging" directive.

On the LASP rulemaking, NBAA has held a number of meetings with TSA officials to review major themes among the more than 7,000 industry comments the TSA received during the public comment period. A number of lawmakers in the House and Senate, and in states across the country, have voiced concerns, and congressional hearings are scheduled to further explore the ramifications this controversial proposal would have for business aviation.

We also have reason for optimism that fixes can be made to the TSA's badging security directive. Shortly after the implementation deadline for the program, the agency modified some of the top level concerns raised by NBAA and other general aviation groups about how the program would be implemented and what impact it might have on security and safety.

Looking to future TSA policy development, there's reason for more optimism. Just last month, Congress passed a proposal to allow the aviation industry to review and provide input toward TSA proposals, while also bringing greater consistency to the use of security directives, like the badging program.

NBAA will continue to press the case for business aviation and support your interests with regulators and legislators in Washington, and we will continue to count on your support.