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Thu, Mar 23, 2006

GAMA Leaders Testify Before House Subcommittee On Aviation

Urge Government To Take Strong Role In Issues That Negatively Impact GA

Testifying Wednesday at a field hearing in Wichita before the US House of Representative’s Subcommittee on Aviation, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) current and past chairmen -- as well as its current President -- urged the Subcommittee to take a strong and proactive role in the issues that could negatively impact the general aviation industry and its future growth and vitality.

Jack Pelton, GAMA's Chairman as well as Chairman, President and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company, joined Jim Schuster, GAMA immediate past Chairman and current Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft Company, and GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce in testifying before the subcommittee at Wednesday's field hearing, held at the request of Congressman Todd Tiahrt.

All three outlined the current state of the general aviation industry as healthy and growing. While they also demonstrated how GA continues to have an increasingly important role in our nation’s economy, each presented issues that could have a direct impact on the future growth and vitality of the industry.

"Regulatory changes that put an undue financial burden on general aviation, inconsistencies in rule interpretations, and illogical regulatory priorities will eventually cripple our industry," said Pelton (file photo below, with Pete Bunce at right).

He went on to describe how current delays regarding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aircraft certification is a leading concern, and how it threatens Cessna's business plan.

Schuster emphasized the importance of ensuring that FAA funding and resources are allocated in the way that Congress intended.

"If the certification of new aviation products becomes onerous or subject to delays in the US, the general aviation industry will be severely disadvantaged in the global marketplace. The result will be the loss of our technical leadership, international competitiveness, and ultimately, jobs," said Schuster (below, right).

In his testimony, Bunce added that modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system, tax policy, export controls, and liability reform are additional areas of concern.

"We thank the Subcommittee for once again taking a personal interest in the health and vitality of aviation manufacturing, and especially to Congressman Tiahrt for spearheading this hearing and his leadership on the issues so important to the general aviation industry," said in his closing.

"We were very honored the Transportation Subcommittee wanted to come to Wichita, to find out firsthand the challenges facing manufacturers," Bunce told Aero-News Wednesday evening. "I thought it was very useful during the hearing to hear from all segments, and to hear themes echoed from all nine panelists that reflected the importance of, especially in the certification realm, things we've already talked about. We had some great discussions about tax policy, as well."

"Anytime you get the chairman of the aviation subcommittee out to be around the general aviation segment, I think it is a very, very positive thing, Bunce added. "I think that this was one of those hearings that was a good-news story for general aviation all around."

GAMA is an international trade association headquartered in Washington, DC representing over 50 of the world's leading manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics and related equipment. GAMA's members also operate fleets of aircraft, fixed based operations, and pilot training and maintenance training facilities.

FMI: www.gama.aero

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