July 5, 2011

Dear NBAA Member,

As NBAA Members are all too well aware, President Obama last week repeatedly disparaged business airplane owners and operators, apparently to make a case that current tax depreciation schedules for general aviation airplanes are too short.

NBAA has long understood the need for an immediate, forceful response to an attack like this one, and in the time since the president made his remarks, the Association has repeatedly denounced the president’s plan as bad policy and cynical politics.

This letter outlines the measures NBAA has undertaken in this regard to date, and details what NBAA Members can do to support our ongoing efforts.

First, NBAA quickly put out a press statement, and reached out to dozens of national news outlets, to put the facts about business aviation in front of reporters, and push for inclusion in the coverage of the president’s remarks.

Included among the news outlets we talked with in the hours after the president’s speech were the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, CNBC, CNN, Congressional Quarterly, FOX News, MarketWatch Dow Jones, National Public Radio, National Journal, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. As we expected, newsrooms have been receptive to our message about the importance of business aviation, and how the president’s caricature of the industry was completely at odds with reality.

For example:

  • CNN aired a “truth check” about the president’s remarks, in which I noted that business aircraft are “products that are manufactured in the United States, maintained in the United States, and, as any small town mayor will tell you, are critical to the future of a lot of our small towns and rural communities without good airline service.”
  • National Public Radio’s All Things Considered interviewed NBAA’s Senior Vice President, Communications Dan Hubbard, who reminded listeners that the president’s remarks “smacked of cynical politics.”
  • In an interview aired on CNBC, Hubbard said, “This is a president who either doesn’t know or simply doesn’t care what all is involved in business aviation, which is the manufacture and use of these airplanes all across the United States. This is an industry that employs about 1.2 million people. It generates about $150 billion a year in economic activity for the country.”

We at NBAA also took our concerns directly to the White House, in a letter I sent to the president to express our collective dismay at his mischaracterizations of business aviation. I wrote that “The U.S. has long been the world leader in all aspects of business aviation, but other countries are working hard to displace us. Yet, rather than extolling this great American industry, you have chosen to denigrate it.”
As our work on these and other fronts continues, we are also helping the industry make its collective voice heard. As I have said before, in order for NBAA to be most effective at the work the Association does in Washington, it is imperative that our Members echo the Association’s message. It’s particularly important in this case, because Congress will ultimately consider any changes to aircraft depreciation the president might offer.

NBAA has prepared a letter that people in the industry can send [closed], using the Association’s online Contact Congress resource. This easy-to-use online advocacy tool has been effectively utilized to inform lawmakers of our concerns in previous issue battles, and I encourage you to use it to help us oppose the president’s rhetoric about, and policies for, business aviation.

As we continue our work to set the record straight on President Obama’s recent remarks and proposals, it is clear that, as with other policy battles, this one will require the collective voice of the entire industry. NBAA will stand strong, and I know we can count on your support.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association