May 14, 2020
Congressional lawmakers from Kansas recently added their voices to an industry-wide appeal to leaders on Capitol Hill for relief from federal excise taxes for non-commercial operators, as a necessary measure to help bolster the nation’s general aviation (GA) industry throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
While the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic have been felt throughout the U.S. – including a 70% drop in business aviation traffic across the nation, based on data compiled from FlightAware.com – the lawmakers noted their state has been hit particularly hard, with as many as 10,000 aviation-manufacturing workers furloughed in the state, and drastic reductions in traffic at its 138 public-use airports.
In their May 12 letter to congressional leaders, the Kansas delegation noted the original Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided numerous industry relief measures, including temporary suspension of excise taxes for commercial air transportation. However, it did not extend that relief to the non-commercial flights that comprise a significant number of business aviation operations.
“Relief from the non-commercial fuel taxes would incentivize operators to preserve jobs and resume flying once we begin to emerge from this crisis,” read the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-12-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-23-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). “This relief would also help small community general aviation airports in Kansas and across the nation that will be instrumental in incentivizing aviation activity as we begin to recover.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed the delegation’s letter, and noted the importance of such appeals to congressional leaders, including the strong response NBAA has enacted to its own call for members to Contact Congress and urge their elected officials to support excise tax relief for non-commercial GA and business aircraft operations.
“The temporary suspension of fuel taxes is a commonsense measure that will help many small businesses reduce their operating costs and provide support for employees as we continue to confront this very unique and challenging situation,” Bolen continued. “I applaud the Kansas congressional delegation for supporting this effort and requesting that a temporary suspension of non-commercial fuel taxes be included in a future relief package.”
The letter to congressional leadership was signed by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), along with Reps. Sharice Davids (D-3-KS), Ron Estes (R-4-KS), Roger Marshall (R-1-KS) and Steve Watkins (R-2-KS).