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Washington, DC, June 11, 2014 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen submitted written comments today before a hearing by the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee regarding implementation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of a satellite-based, “NextGen” air traffic control network.
The primary focus at the hearing, titled “FAA’s 2020 NextGen Mandate: Benefits and Challenges for General Aviation,” was the potential challenges for small businesses in the general aviation community in complying with an FAA mandate that all aircraft be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment and technologies by Jan. 1, 2020. The ADS-B equipment is key to the deployment of NextGen.
Bolen’s remarks, outlined in a letter he sent to the committee’s chairman and ranking member, noted that the business aviation community has long supported efforts to modernize the National Airspace System (NAS), so that it remains the world’s safest, largest and most efficient air traffic control network, including through NBAA staff representation on all of the major NextGen government-industry working groups.
“We know that a modernized system will boost its capacity – something especially important to business aviation, because we have seen that when airspace and airports become constrained, business aviation tends to get pushed out of those areas,” Bolen added.
However, while NextGen offers tremendous potential for the advancement of operational efficiency and safety, while also reducing the industry’s environmental footprint, Bolen cautioned that several requirements under the FAA’s equipage mandate remain unclear.
“For example, Bolen said, “the industry needs further clarity on the FAA’s implementation timeline – including the agency’s requirement for ADS-B equipage by Jan. 1, 2020 – and what is required of operators to meet that timeline. We need a better understanding of what type of commitment operators must make for technology upgrades and new investments.
“As with all new programs, we also have concerns about what the equipage costs for operators will be, and what services can be expected from installation of ADS-B and other NextGen equipment,” Bolen continued. Read Bolen’s remarks about NextGen to the House Small Business Committee.
Today’s hearing was the latest in a series of discussions led by committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-7-NY) to gauge feedback from across the broad spectrum of aviation stakeholders about issues affecting the nation’s general aviation community.
NBAA has been an active participant in this process, including earlier this year when entrepreneur and association member Jamail Larkins testified about impact of FAA regulation upon the thousands of small businesses utilizing general aviation to remain competitive and flexible in serving their customers. Read Larkins’s testimony.
Also testifying at the June 11 hearing were FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta; Aircraft Electronics Association President Paula Derks; Free Flight Systems, Inc. President and CEO Tim Taylor, who testified on behalf of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Aviation Adventures owner Bob Hepp, representing members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and Kenneth Button, director of the Center for Transportation, Policy, Operations and Logistics at George Mason University.
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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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