June 8, 2015

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen on June 4 again delivered the business aviation community’s perspective on the debate over FAA reauthorization, reinforcing the need for a system that will serve the American public and preserve the nation’s aviation system as the world’s largest, safest and most diverse system.

As has been the case when Bolen has appeared in other recent stakeholder forums in Washington, D.C., his comments at the 2015 RTCA Global Aviation Symposium, focused both on the importance of general aviation to the nation’s economy and transportation network, and on the need to modernize the aviation system while preserving access.

In his panel, held at the National Press Club, Bolen lauded the industry’s willingness to seek consensus among different visions, noting that a key aspect to that approach has been to stay focused on the question of “How do we find ways to collectively move forward without causing harm?”

Though the panelists joining Bolen each brought distinct perspectives on the FAA reauthorization debate, they all agreed on the need for stable, secure funding for the agency, so that new technologies can be adopted to enhance the aviation system.

For those panelists who suggested that such funding stability might be found by looking to the aviation funding-and-governance structures in place in other countries, Bolen quickly reminded them that such systems have themselves at times lacked stability, particularly during times of economic turbulence.

Bolen further contended that decisions about aviation system funding and governance – including matters related to taxation and access to airports and airspace, among other issues – should continue to be made by elected officials, who understand that such matters should be considered with an eye toward the public benefit.

“The ability to tax is the ability to destroy,” Bolen noted. “Because it is such a sweeping power, we’ve invested it in our elected representatives. That’s how we ensure that the public airspace serves the public benefit.”