On December 9th, the 114th Congress adjourned after a brief post-general election “lame duck” session. The 115th Congress convened on January 3rd and on January 20
th President-elect Trump will be sworn into office on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.
In 2017, Congress will again be tasked with developing legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, thus renewing the air traffic control corporatization debate. NATA supports the idea of making the FAA a more efficient operation. Controllers, for example, certainly need to have the best possible equipment as quickly as possible. However, NATA believes the airline’s corporation proposal would be bad for aviation business, general aviation and for investment in rural America. Such a proposal poses significant risk to system safety, the implementation of NextGen, and access to critical airspace and airport improvement funds. Corporatizing air traffic control puts in jeopardy the future development of a system that was intentionally designed to benefit all users, not just a chosen few.
NATA hopes to move past this divisive issue and instead assist policymakers in developing legislation to improve the consistency of FAA decisions across its offices and regions, continue to streamline the FAA certification process to better reflect today’s pace of innovation, and assist the agency in operating as efficiently as possible. The association will also continue to educate lawmakers and the Administration on the safety implications of other proposals including attempts to allow the public to ride-share with private pilots with potentially little flight time or training for challenging weather conditions.
The Trump campaign had comparatively little to say about aviation, but the President-elect’s selection of Secretary Elaine Chao to lead the Department of Transportation is a sign that infrastructure issues will be a priority to his administration. His use of business aviation throughout his career can certainly be interpreted as a hopeful sign.
Taxation of Aircraft Management Services
President-elect Donald Trump’s background indicates an appreciation for the contribution of business aircraft to the nation’s economy. The incoming Administration’s regulatory and tax reform agenda provides possible opportunities to resolve issues important to aviation businesses, including clarifying that federal excise taxes should not be applied to aircraft management services as well as ensuring that aviation taxes are deposited into the aviation trust fund. NATA will work with the Administration to discuss these and other issues that will benefit the aviation business community.
Before adjourning for the year, Congress unveiled, and quickly passed, legislation to fund the federal government through April 28, 2017. The continuing resolution will allow the FAA and other agencies to fund fiscal year 2017 projects and programs at current levels. It provides a continuation of NextGen activities and necessary funds for the agency to maintain critical safety activities.