2006 Press Releases

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Bolen Blasts ATA for Unfounded Comments on VLJs

Contact: Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC, October 2, 2006 – The National Business Aviation Association today strongly disputed allegations made by representatives from the lobbying group for the commercial airlines that the emergence of very light jets (VLJs) would impose a burden on the nation's aviation infrastructure.

On September 28, Bloomberg news quoted an Air Transport Association (ATA) official's contention that VLJs would be a "significant burden" in the aviation system, interfering with the operations of the commercial airlines.

"The unfounded comments by the ATA fly in the face not only of public statements by Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Marion Blakey but also congressional testimony by top FAA officials," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "The fear-mongering by the airlines may be part of their broader strategy to pay less for air traffic services even as they try to seize control of the system."

Public statements by FAA officials on VLJs include the following:
  • In July, Blakey told NBC Nightly News: "I think the people who are anticipating congestion problems [from VLJs] way up at high altitude are probably anticipating a problem that we don't necessarily expect to have."
  • Just last week, Nicholas Sabatini, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, echoed Blakey's remarks. In testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, Sabatini said, "The system is in place today to accommodate the entry of new aircraft into the National Airspace System.... This is nothing new for the FAA. It is our day-to-day business."
  • Other FAA officials have concurred. In July, FAA Director of Systems Operations Airspace Nancy Kalinowski told the Orlando Business Journal: "We just don't see any problem integrating them into the airspace. It's a new and exciting jet that's coming on board. We'll make adjustments to handle it."
"The development of VLJ aircraft is good news on many levels," Bolen said. "Their introduction produces high-skill manufacturing jobs. They will help make many small and mid-sized companies more competitive. And, they will strengthen aviation services for many small communities. Those benefits should be the focus of discussion about VLJs."

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 7,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.