The U.S. Senate passed a resolution for AOPA’s eightieth anniversary in May 2019, recognizing the association’s leadership in advocating for general aviation. AOPA’s advocacy arm continued working hard during the anniversary year. Here are the top advocacy wins of 2019:
Mexico travel. AOPA led efforts urging Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics to officially recognize and accept pilots flying with BasicMed to travel to and from Mexico. Pilots were permitted to begin flying between the United States and Mexico under the authorization starting December 10.
TFR impact. In February 2019, President Trump signed a bill securing $3.5 million in reimbursement funding for three non-gateway airports—New Jersey’s Solberg and Somerset airports, and Florida’s Palm Beach County Park Airport, also known as Lantana—and businesses closed by temporary flight restrictions associated with his VIP travel. AOPA is the leading advocate in Washington, D.C., working to find a solution for presidential TFR impacts on airports.
New certification standards. The FAA published revised standards for airline transport pilot certification and type rating issuance that more closely align with the knowledge pilots must have to fly safely. AOPA chaired the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee’s Airman Certification System Working Group that worked with the FAA to develop new holistic and integrated certification standards that ensure pilots are trained and tested on all the elements needed to operate safely in the national airspace system.
Border crossing. AOPA collaborated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on CBP's Mobile Primary program and testing of the eAPIS Mobile Quickclear app to expedite the cross-border experience. The association’s ongoing efforts include working toward more innovation and risk-based solutions for GA.
AIP and workforce funds. A government funding package signed by Trump in December 2019 included $3.35 billion for the Airport Improvement Program and $10 million for workforce grant programs, a huge win for AOPA and the aviation industry, particularly as the industry works to introduce high school students to aviation through STEM-based aviation curriculum, grow the pilot population, and address aviation maintenance technician shortages.
Washington, D.C.-based publication The Hill released its annual list of top lobbyists. AOPA was named to the list for the sixth year in a row, which “highlights the broad range of talents needed to succeed in the influence industry.” AOPA is among the nation’s top companies, labor unions, and associations.