March 19, 2020

In three letters to top government officials this week, NBAA both advocated for business aviation economic relief, and offered the industry’s assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Two letters requested general aviation be included in economic relief packages, while the third shared general and business aviation’s successful history of assisting the nation in times of crisis.

The first letter, led by NBAA, and sent in partnership with the major general aviation industry groups to U.S. House and Senate leadership, highlighted the value of general aviation businesses to our nation’s air transportation system, supporting 1.2 million jobs and contributing $247 billion in economic impact.

“With scheduled airlines serving only ten-percent of our nation’s 5,000 airports, air carriers that provide charter services under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, and fractional providers operating under Part 91 subpart K provide connectivity to thousands of communities with no other air service. In addition to transporting passengers, Part 135 operators conduct almost all air ambulance flights and are a critical part of the network to deliver organs for transplant,” the letter stated. “Without both near and medium to longterm relief, many of these air carriers will not survive, resulting in job losses and significant disruptions to the critical services that they provide every day.”

The letter explained the devastating economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on general aviation operators, and the need for charter and fractional providers to be included as part of any relief package for the scheduled airlines. Read the full letter to congressional leaders.

NBAA and other aviation groups also offered the general and business aviation industry’s assistance in COVID-19 containment and recovery in a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The letter highlighted general aviation’s diverse fleet, capable of rapid response to even remote locations. It also shared steps the industry is taking to inform operators, manufacturers, maintenance providers, and others of best practices to ensure an appropriate response to the pandemic.

“In times of crisis, the businesses our Associations represent have assisted with disaster relief by providing evacuation flights, delivering supplies, and surveying damage. The missions our member companies undertake are vitally important and they have considerable experience operating during emergencies,” the letter said. Read the full letter to Chao.

In addition to NBAA, these two letters were signed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; the General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Helicopter Association International and the National Air Transportation Association, with the Experimental Aircraft Association also signing on to the letter requesting economic relief programs.

Finally, a broader group of aviation associations appealed to the administration and congressional leaders to work together to quickly pass and implement a broad- economic stimulus and recovery package, this letter concisely stating, “The breadth and immediacy of the need to act cannot be overstated. It is urgent and unprecedented.”

Describing the significant need for economic assistance, the letter also emphasized the aviation industry’s contribution to the U.S. economy:

“In the frankest of terms, the current economic environment is simply not sustainable. The U.S. aviation industry and our employees need immediate assistance as the current economic environment continues to devolve. Our concern is compounded by the fact that the crisis does not appear to have an end in sight…

Civil aviation drives five percent of U.S. GDP and is necessary to the success of other industry sectors – which makes it unique in its significance to the health of the overall U.S. economy.”

Read the full letter to congressional leaders.

“Business aviation can be an incredibly valuable partner in crisis management, as demonstrated by the industry’s long history of serving its communities and our nation, and the aviation industry as a whole will be a crucial driver in economic recovery,” added NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

“As much as the industry desires to help our country to respond to this crisis and serve as an important element of economic recovery, our businesses and their employees need support,” he said. “We urge Congress and the Administration to make certain that our nation’s general aviation industry is included in the relief package currently under consideration.”