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WASHINGTON, DC, October 18, 2005 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today hailed the arrival of the first general aviation flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) since September 2001.
“NBAA is pleased to welcome the arrival of the first general aviation flight into Washington National Airport in more than four years,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We have always believed that effective security measures can coexist with normal economic activity and freedom of mobility at the airport, and today’s flight marks a good step in that direction.”
Bolen noted that, over the last four years, the closure of DCA to general aviation has taken a heavy economic toll on the Washington region. According to a study commissioned by NBAA, the ban on general aviation at DCA produced economic losses of $6 million per month from 2001 through March 2004 as a result of lost jobs, wages, business volume to local aviation firms and their suppliers, and lost tax revenue to the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, the total figure stands at well over $200 million in losses.
“The impact of the ban on general aviation flights at DCA has been felt at all levels,” Bolen said. “The airport and the businesses located there have been adversely impacted. But just as importantly, businesses that support the airport, including hoteliers, restaurants, taxi companies and other service providers have been impacted by the ban. We commend officials at the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration for working with Congressional leaders to produce a plan to restore full access at the airport, and the economic activity that comes with it.”
While the arrival of the first flight is a significant milestone for business aviation, the plan for general aviation at DCA remains prohibitive, and even unworkable for many businesses. NBAA anticipates that as time goes on and security organizations gain more experience with renewed operations, onerous requirements can be phased out and replaced with more practicable security measures, as was the case following the return of commercial airline flights to DCA. Over time, many security requirements for commercial flights were phased out and airline operations at DCA now look much like those elsewhere.
“Our industry will continue to work with federal security officials to strike a balance between freedom of mobility and America’s homeland security needs,” Bolen concluded. “But NBAA views this day as cause for celebration. The nation’s business aviation community is grateful for the end of the prolonged closure of DCA to general aviation.”
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Founded in 1947, NBAA serves more than 7,000 Member Companies by promoting the aviation interests of organizations utilizing business aircraft in the United States and worldwide. The association provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.