Contact: Cassandra Bosco
Washington, DC, April 9, 2003 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President Jack Olcott urged multi-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) when testifying today before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee. Olcott also discussed the critical needs of the business aviation industry in the key areas of safety and security, airport investment and access, FAA funding, air transportation system modernization, air traffic control, and international and regulatory issues.
Safety and Security. “Safety has been and continues to be the primary focus for NBAA and the business aviation community,” noted Olcott. “Even in the post-9/11 environment, safety should never take a second seat to security.
“Business aviation’s commitment to safety has resulted in the lowest accident rate for any segment of aviation over the past three years, averaging just over 0.11 accidents for every 100,000 hours flown. This is a remarkable achievement and, in fact, Calendar Year 2002 was one of the safest years on record for corporate and executive flights.
“A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) seems to be the tool of choice for some mayors and governors trying to address constituent concerns about security. Unfortunately, a TFR used impulsively, and not developed to address a specific threat, only hurts law-abiding Americans with a need and desire to fly.
“As we saw recently in Chicago, the use of the TFR even contributed to the destruction of an airport – Meigs Field. This abominable example of a mayor usurping Federal authority in the name of homeland security has become a consideration, albeit to a lesser degree so far, across the country.
“Without clear guidance from this body and from the Administration, general aviation airports across the country face a patchwork of restrictions imposed by local, state and possibly Federal mandates. This subcommittee, so instrumental in the creation of the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, must act to ensure that airports are not sacrificed by those who would use the guise of security to achieve their political agenda.”
Airport Investment and Access. “NBAA reiterates our long-standing view that funding airport capacity enhancement means nothing without fair and reasonable access,” said Olcott. “We reaffirm our strong support for FAA’s sponsor assurances agreements that are an integral part of each and every grant application made by airport operators.”
FAA Funding. NBAA asserts that the nation’s aviation system deserves another multi-year funding program that maintains and goes beyond current budget levels. We also feel strongly about the need for continued Congressional oversight of FAA spending.
Air Transportation System Modernization. To maintain the United States’s position as the world leader in air transportation with the safest air traffic control system in the world, we must remain focused on modernization of that system. Additional and accelerated investment in these technologies will enhance safety, security, efficiency and capacity. It will also lead to better use of limited FAA resources.
Air Traffic Control Is Inherently Governmental – Privatization Is Not the Solution. NBAA believes that the FAA personnel responsible for providing ATC services do an excellent job and should continue to manage and operate the ATC system. Further, this is uniquely a governmental function in that it must be operated for all users as a monopoly.
International and Regulatory Issues. NBAA applauds FAA’s creation of a new department within the Agency to focus solely on international issues and representation. We request that this reauthorization require the Administration to rescind international arrival and departure restrictions for Part 91 aircraft.
“Furthermore, we recommend the Transportation Security Administration Access Certificate (TSAAC) trial program currently underway at Teterboro Airport be approved on a permanent basis,” added Olcott. “This protocol should be expanded throughout the U.S. as a means of extending access to qualified Part 91 operators during periods of elevated threat level.”
A copy of Olcott’s testimony is available online at http://www.nbaa.org/testimony.
NBAA represents the aviation interests of more than 7,300 companies that own or operate general aviation aircraft as an aid to the conduct of their business, or are involved with business aviation. NBAA Member Companies earn annual revenues approaching $5 trillion — a number that is about half the gross domestic product — and employ more than 19 million people worldwide. The NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention is the world’s largest display of civil aviation products and services.
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