Aviation industry unites for FAA funding bill

February 10, 2009

The entire aviation industry has united in support of a comprehensive, multi-year FAA funding bill. In a joint letter to key members of Congress, organizations as disparate as the airlines and AOPA urged lawmakers to complete the funding (reauthorization) process “at the earliest possible time in order to expedite the modernization and expansion of our national air transportation system and foundation for future growth of the economy.”

“This shows a unique willingness for all of the aviation interests to pull together as an industry,” said AOPA executive vice president of government affairs Andy Cebula. “We’ve set aside some of our past differences for the common good of airport improvement, emissions reduction, and NextGen air traffic control modernization.”

The letter outlined the importance of general aviation within the national air transportation system, noting that GA and regional air service “provide economic lifelines to thousands of communities across the country. Additional investment in airports and heliports of all sizes will undoubtedly provide benefits to cities and rural communities in all 50 states.”

The aviation groups said that the NextGen system could reduce aviation greenhouse emissions through more efficient use of the airspace. They also asked Congress to invest in research for alternative fuels for the airlines and general aviation.

A new FAA funding bill was introduced Feb. 9. The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2009 authorizes nearly $70 billion for the FAA for four years, and would do so without new aviation user fees. The bill is very similar to the AOPA-supported H.R.2881, which passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate.

AOPA President Craig Fuller will testify Feb. 11 before the House aviation subcommittee. He will be supporting a multi-year FAA funding (reauthorization) bill without user fees.

The industry letter was sent to Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Commerce Committee Chairman; Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Commerce Committee Ranking Member; Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Finance Committee Chairman; Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Finance Committee Ranking Member; Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman; Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member; Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), Transportation Committee Chairman; Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), Transportation Committee Ranking Member; Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), aviation subcommittee Chairman; and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), aviation subcommittee Ranking Member.

Joining together to sign the industry letter were AOPA, the Aerospace Industries Association, Aerospace States Association, Air Carrier Association of America, Air Transport Association, Airport Consultants Council, Airports Council International-North America, American Association of Airport Executives, Cargo Airline Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, National Air Carrier Association, National Air Traffic Controllers Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Aircraft Resale Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Business Aviation Association, Regional Airline Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.