January 22, 2009
By Warren D. Morningstar
When the three auto execs flew three large corporate jets to Washington, D.C., to beg for money, it struck a lot of people as inappropriate at best. It infuriated many members of Congress, including Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), House Financial Services chairman, who put a requirement in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill that forced any business getting TARP money to get rid of its corporate aircraft.
But the committee reconsidered its position once it learned the impact that the bill could have on businesses large and small. They heard from many, including Kansas Representatives Dennis Moore and Todd Tiahart. The language was struck from the bill.
Rep. Frank said on Jan. 21, “The private aircraft industry is an important industry in America, and it plays a necessary role with businesses in certain areas of the country. For example, there are a number of communities that do not have commercial air service available for hundreds of miles.”
He noted that many communities do not have commercial airline services, and that some of those small towns and cities were already in economic distress.
“Denying businesses the ability to use private aircraft further disadvantages these businesses and seriously impacts thousands of American jobs that provide services to this industry,” said Frank. “I heard from many members of Congress from both parties representing a half a dozen states expressing concerns of their constituents in regard to this matter and hence why we further reviewed the issue and ultimately removed it from the legislation.”
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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