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Sat, Jan 10, 2009

NBAA: 'TARP' Language Against BizAv Will Fuel General Aviation Job Losses

Reform Bill Includes Stipulation To End Private Aircraft Ownership, Leases

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 jets.

"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."

FMI: www.nbaa.org

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