A day after an air-carrier organization asked for a $50 billion package of financial support—grants and guaranteed loans—groups supporting general aviation are reminding Congress that it will be impacted, too. In a letter sent to Congress today, AOPA, EAA, HAI, NATA, GAMA and NBAA are asking to be included in any relief efforts.
“We applaud your decisive actions to provide rapid relief during this crisis. As you consider the third relief package, we respectfully request that all air carriers, including air charter and fractional operators, be included as was the case in Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act passed after the September 11 terrorist attacks. These companies are a vital part of our transportation network and serve as a lifeline for communities large and small throughout the country,” say the associations.
“As you consider a potential relief package for FAR Part 121 air carriers, we request that those same programs be made available for companies conducting operations under FAR Parts 135 and 91 subpart K. Programs that would provide the most support to our industry include medium to long-term liquidity assistance and relief from air transportation excise taxes. With the majority of business aviation air carriers being private companies, their access to capital is more constrained. In the current environment, private equity markets are not able to provide financing, eliminating an important source of liquidity for the industry,” they say. In addition to direct financial assistance, the group is asking for “relief and rebates” on taxes paid, including fuel taxes.
Meanwhile, in a letter sent to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao, the same group announced its intention to “make ourselves available to assist in any way possible. We stand ready to work with the Administration so that the important role our industry can play in responding and mitigating the many challenges of this health issue is fully realized.” Among the services GA could provide, according to the associations, are “transporting time sensitive supplies, medical and testing equipment, organ transplants, and key personnel and patients to over 5,000 general aviation airports. In times of crisis, the businesses our Associations represent have assisted with disaster relief by providing evacuation flights, delivering supplies, and surveying damage. The missions our member companies undertake are vitally important and they have considerable experience operating during emergencies.”