NATA Clarifies Treatment of GA Under AIRR Act
Legislation leaves wide inconsistencies in GA user fee exemption
Washington, DC, February 10, 2016 – In a letter late today to House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) clarified how user fees will be applied to segments of general aviation under H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act.
Hendricks first dispelled a contention made at today’s Transportation Committee hearing on ATC reform that charter operations (Part 135) were largely high-end passenger jets. “While such aircraft comprise a segment of the Part 135 fleet, they serve as a stereotype that does not fairly represent the fleet as a whole. The balance is comprised of fixed-wing piston (25%), fixed-wing turboprop (19%), rotor piston & turbine (26%). The Part 135 community is a working one, and the revenue created is the difference between the success and failure of many small businesses. Typical for many small businesses, the overwhelming majority of Part 135 operators have 25 or fewer employees and less than $5 million annual revenue.”
Hendricks noted, “A Part 135 operation may have only a single King Air, holding five passengers, and under this legislation be required to pay user fees. Ironically, while the King Air pays user fees, corporate jets will pay gas taxes. The legislation exempts almost 25 percent of commercial GA operations from user fees (fixed-wing piston) but sweeps in other commercial GA operations (for example air ambulance, air tours, certain types of flight instruction) that have heretofore been wholly exempt or contributed via gas taxes. Worse, this community is denied representation in the Corporation’s proposed governance structure. The fact that recourse against Corporation mistreatment is largely limited to mounting a court challenge against a well-funded large corporation further erodes their ability to ensure fair treatment.”
Given the legislation’s complexity and the fact its ramifications are not yet fully understood Hendricks requested the Committee forego tomorrow’s markup to provide time for additional analysis.
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NATA, the voice of aviation business for 75 years, is the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.
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