Reform Bill Includes Stipulation To End Private Aircraft
The National Business Aviation
Association (NBAA) warned Friday that businesses trying to recover
in the current, unforgiving economic climate would be severely
impacted by language in a bill to reform the Troubled Assets Relief
Program (TARP), first passed by Congress last year.
The proposal was introduced Friday by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA),
Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. According to
the press release issued by his office, the bill will "require
divestment of private aircraft or leases."
Frank's bill comes as anti-BizAv sentiment continues to fester
among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
As ANN has reported, congressional bias
against business aviation came to a head late last year, when CEOs
of the Detroit Three automakers appeared before Congress to beg for
federal bailout dollars, and attracted attention for each of them
having flown to Washington on their respective companies' private
"Congress may be trying to bolster the economy, but enactment of
this provision will put the jobs of tens of thousands of
hard-working Americans at risk," NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen
said. "This could devastate the small businesses that fuel and
service general aviation airplanes, further harm the manufacturers
who are already laying off workers and slowing assembly lines, and
take away a tool from companies that need general aviation
airplanes to operate to and from the thousands of US communities
that have little or no scheduled airline service."
To underscore his point, Bolen cited several measures
illustrating the challenges already confronting the general
aviation community. As industry analysts have recently noted,
general aviation flight operations are down, and fuel consumption
has been off this year. The market for used airplanes is larger
than ever. Aircraft maintenance and repair shops are hurting. And
Fixed Based Operators (FBO's) -- the small businesses that service
general aviation aircraft, many of which always operate at the
economic margins -- have been further stressed.
"Clearly, the people and businesses in the general aviation
community are weathering one of the worst economic storms anyone
has ever seen," Bolen continued. "These workers include schedulers,
dispatchers, maintenance technicians, pilots, training
professionals, insurers, and many other disciplines - all good
jobs, performed by good people. The work they do matters to the
companies they work for, the communities they live in, and our
nation as a whole.
"We understand the importance of providing American taxpayers
with strong assurances that federal monies are being utilized to
protect jobs, rescue troubled assets and provide structural reforms
to the domestic economy. But Congress needs to craft the
legislation so that it doesn't harm this critical industry. We urge
in the strongest possible terms that Congress eliminate the general
aviation requirement from the TARP language."