April 21, 2020
Everyone in aviation – and perhaps young professionals more than most – is being affected by the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. But as was noted during the most recent NBAA News Hour webinar, the crisis is bringing together the general aviation industry as never before.
“Now is the time to appreciate that you are part of a larger community,” said Christa Lucas, NBAA’s senior vice president of government affairs. “Now, more than ever, we need to embrace the fact that we are all in this together. We all need to pull for each other and help each other.”
Lucas and Scott O’Brien, NBAA’s senior director of government affairs, highlighted some of the legislative relief that the association has been instrumental in securing for business aviation, including the ongoing, efforts by NBAA’s government affairs staff to work with top regulators at the Department of the Treasury and IRS.
“We quickly assembled a team – including NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen – that responded to the crisis, getting on the phone with the leadership in the U.S. House and Senate to make sure that general aviation was included in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act,” said Lucas. She noted that more than 6,000 NBAA members were instrumental in that effort, responding immediately to the association’s Contact Congress request, letting their representatives know about the importance of including general aviation in the relief package.
“The power of advocacy helped get us where we are today,” said Lucas.
Lucas and O’Brien outlined key CARES Act provisions for general aviation:
- The Paycheck Protection Program, which provides up to eight weeks of paycheck support for employees (Congress is now looking to infuse the program with additional funds).
- An additional $100 million for general aviation airports, which does not include the usual matching-funds requirement. Also, the money can be used for operating expenses.
- Air carriers and FAR Part 145 repair stations are eligible for direct loans from a $25 billion fund administered by the Treasury Department.
- An additional $25 billion grant program for passenger air carriers and $4 billion for air cargo carriers to cover salary payments to employees.
- An excise tax suspension through Jan. 1, 2021, for all commercial air transportation taxes, which includes Part 135 operations.
“We are currently working very hard to have the fuel tax suspension also extended to non-commercial operators and our industry’s wide range of small business,” said O’Brien, noting that NBAA was one of the industry associations that helped craft a letter to legislative leaders, requesting the suspension.
The association is also working with federal agencies such as the Treasury Department, advocating for business aviation and pointing out that many businesses in the industry are small and need help. “We are making sure that they understand our industry has unique challenges and financial limitations that the large airlines simply do not have to deal with,” said O’Brien.
Phil Derner, webinar moderator and NBAA Western regional representative, encouraged all webinar attendees to remain engaged with the association, and to not hesitate to reach to NBAA’s regional representatives and legislative team. “We have great resources for everyone, including our web site and our new Insider Daily newsletter,” noted Derner.
Regarding economic relief from the pandemic, Lucas reminded attendees about the importance of using NBAA’s Contact Congress tool to contact Capitol Hill, and the impact that it already has and will continue to have.
“It only takes two minutes of your time to fill out,” said Lucas, “but the benefits are much greater than that. Let your members of Congress know that general aviation needs these economic tools.”
This webinar, titled “YoPro Legislative Update,” is just one in a series of educational opportunities NBAA has planned for the coming weeks. Learn more, register for upcoming webinars and view recordings of past webinars on the NBAA News Hour site.