August 30, 2013

The need to preserve and promote all general aviation (GA) jobs, including those in business aviation, resonated strongly throughout an Aug. 28 forum at Port City Air, a fixed base operator on New Hampshire’s Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM). The event also provided an opportunity for NBAA Director of Government Affairs Dick Doubrava, and NBAA Northeast Regional Representative Dean Saucier, to engage in an important discussion with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) about issues of concern to the business aviation community.

“This gathering presented the welcome opportunity to demonstrate to Sen. Ayotte the numerous benefits provided by business aviation throughout the Granite State,” Doubrava said. “The senator also shares our concerns about potentially devastating proposals suggested by the Obama administration, including the threat of user fees and adjustments to the accelerated-depreciation schedule on aircraft purchases.”

Ayotte is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security.

As might be expected in a state with the motto “live free or die,” general aviation is an essential part of New Hampshire’s social and economic fabric. Figures released by the state transportation department note that the state’s 24 publicly owned airports serve 3,825 pilots and 1,316 GA aircraft. Additionally, a recent report by the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry noted GA operations sustain 8,000 jobs across the state, with approximately nine of every 1,000 workers in New Hampshire connected in some way to the aviation industry.

While touring Port City Air, Ayotte stressed how those vital economic contributions would be severely affected by a $100 user fee against general aviation aircraft proposed in President Obama’s FY2014 budget.

“This is an important issue,” she told the Portsmouth Patch news website. “Those fees would have a negative impact on general aviation here at Pease.”

As congressional leaders have traveled home to visit their constituents during the summer recess, NBAA has actively engaged in similar conversations with local, state and national lawmakers across the country regarding the importance of business aviation.

For example, at an Aug. 13 “roundtable” held in Sioux Falls, SD, NBAA’s Doubrava joined Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and other industry stakeholders to discuss the vital economic importance of business aviation, to the Mount Rushmore State.

That meeting came one day after an Aug. 12 GA Jobs Rally in Albuquerque, NM that was attended by three NBAA representatives, including NBAA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Lisa Piccione.

NBAA also had a presence at similar events held in Nevada, Illinois and Missouri throughout the summer.

“Taken as a whole, these grassroots events have provided local, state and national elected officials with firsthand information about the importance of general aviation and business aviation to their communities,” Doubrava said.