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NATA: Major Policy Issues

Congress is now in full swing and is considering policy issues impacting aviation businesses. NATA has updated its whitepaper, "Major Policy Issues," to include the FAA reauthorization and tax issues.

NATA Industry Excellence Awards Nominations Are Open

NATA announces a call for nominations to acknowledge the individuals, offices, and organizations demonstrating excellence in their field and the highest level of customer service to the general aviation community. Each year, NATA presents awards to the exceptional individuals and companies that have helped to improve the general aviation community. The recipients of these awards are chosen based upon NATA member-submitted nominations. To review the award categories and award nomination form, click here. For more information, please contact Karissa Uko at kuko@nata.aero.

NATA's Address
NATA's address is 818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20006. Please note NATA's new address and plan to visit when you are in the area.

NATA Aviation Solutions – Individualized Operational and Regulatory Consulting Services
NATA Aviation Solutions is the consulting arm of the association, providing individualized operational and regulatory consulting services.
NATA Aviation Solutions utilizes a stable of well-known, professional subject matter experts to address local, tactical and strategic issues specifically related to individual businesses.
Among the issues with which NATA Aviation Solutions can assist:
• Certificate consolidations and approvals
• Operational approvals
• MRO issues
• Safety optimization
• Local FAA office assistance
• Tax regulatory and policy issues before the IRS, Department of Treasury and Congress
• Preparation of aviation-related manuals specific to your business
Contact Megan Eisenstein at (800) 808-6282 or meisenstein@nata.aero to discuss your specific issue, needs and goals.

2016 Aviation Business Conference — Early Bird Registration Opens December 1

NATA's 2016 Aviation Business Conference will take place June 8th-10th at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. The conference will kick off with a reception Wednesday evening, June 8th and the conference will conclude Friday afternoon, June 10th. Early bird registration will open December 1st and run through Friday, April 8th. Mark your calendar now and look for upcoming registration details!


FAA Reauthorization Update: House Action Now Possible By Year's End

Shortly before the FAA’s current authorization lapsed, Congress approved a six-month extension of the agency until March 31, 2016.  Lawmakers gave themselves this additional time to address higher priority issues including a budget deal, raising the nation’s debt ceiling, and a long-term highway funding bill.  Those issues are in the process of being closed out and that means the FAA reauthorization will soon be front and center.

Those of you who attended NATA’s recent 2015 Aviation Business Roundtable heard from Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the House Transportation Committee, who discussed the dynamics of the House FAA reauthorization process.  Representative DeFazio informed us the House bill is largely drafted and discussed possible FAA management reform scenarios including Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) proposal to create a user-fee funded, independent, not-for-profit corporation to operate the air traffic control (ATC) system and Rep. DeFazio’s own reform alternative, a "21st Century Constitutionally Chartered FAA Corporation." 

NATA is hopeful the House legislation will contain elements of the policy recommendations we provided lawmakers earlier in the year.  The association was delighted that one recommendation, requiring the Government Accountability Office to look into the continued necessity for what we call the “fuel fraud” provisions that divert monies from the Aviation Trust Fund to the Highway Trust Fund, was added as a provision in the House version of the highway bill.  

We expect the central issue of the upcoming FAA reauthorization debate, ATC reform, to resume being debated in a much more public manner.  Recently, Delta Airlines announced that it was leaving its trade association, Airlines for America (A4A), citing among other issues its policy disagreement with A4A over ATC reform.  In a speech last week, A4A President Nick Calio called on Congress to deliver “transformational reform of the system.”

NATA recently met with the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune (R-SD), who will draft the Senate version of the FAA reauthorization.  Senator Thune anticipates House action before the end of the year and hopes to complete Senate action on its version of the FAA reauthorization before the March 31, 2016 deadline. 

NATA continues to urge caution in terms of dividing the FAA and creating a user-fee funded, corporatized, ATC system.  Radical change to the FAA’s management structure and funding poses risks to the safe and stable nature of the world’s best air traffic control system.  It also contains significant unknowns to the operational costs to aviation businesses including access to critical airspace and airport improvement funds. These downsides, for general aviation and rural America as a whole, outweigh any potential benefits.  

Be assured that NATA, in close coordination with our colleagues in the general aviation community, continues to educate key policymakers on the important issues in the upcoming debate.  Depending on the specific language contained in the House proposal, we are prepared to launch an aggressive grass-roots advocacy effort, supported by all NATA members, to ensure general aviation's long-term interests are protected. So please keep your pencils sharp and be prepared to act.

NATA Responds to DOT IG Report Comparing FAA to Foreign Air Traffic Systems

NATA The Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT IG) issued an audit reportrequested by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee comparing the U.S. air traffic control system with the air navigation service providers of Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. 

The following is a statement by National Air Transportation Association President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks:

“The DOT IG’s report validates why Congress should proceed very cautiously in contemplating massive structural changes to America’s air traffic control, acknowledged as the world’s safest, largest and most complex.  This report clearly demonstrates these international air traffic control systems are much smaller and less complex than our own.  Also reported by the IG, these air traffic control providers, unlike the FAA, ‘do not embark on large, comprehensive modernization efforts such as NextGen transformational programs or conduct extensive aviation research and development.’  Instead, as the report notes, these air traffic providers rely on small, incremental changes using off-the-shelf technology.  Europe’s efforts to orchestrate a multi-national modernization effort similar to the FAA’s, called SESAR, is producing mixed results and limited progress.

But just as important, the report highlights the risks these models pose to continued American leadership in aviation.  There is no facility in Europe or Canada dedicated to aviation technology research such as the FAA’s world-leading William J. Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey.  Further, Europe and Canada lack sophisticated policy mechanisms like the NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC) that gathers America’s aviation thought leaders together to provide highly valuable advice to policymakers.  This effort is already helping transform our air traffic control system for both today and tomorrow.  Interestingly, Europeans are key participants on the NAC.   No other country or region in the world is providing this degree of aviation leadership to help guide this massive modernization effort.

This is a healthy policy debate with a worthy goal of determining how to deploy cutting edge technology in anticipation of future air traffic growth.  The IG’s report clearly highlights whether corporatizing air traffic control really addresses the future needs of the world’s safest air traffic control system.”