Published in Midwest Flyer – Aug/Sept 2016
WASHINGTON, DC. – National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and CEO Thomas L. Hendricks praised House and Senate negotiators July 6, 2016 on their agreement extending the Federal Aviation Administration’s authorization until September 30, 2017. “Based on the summary released today by the House Transportation Committee, while not a perfect solution, this authorized extension provides stability to the agency and takes action on a number of high priority safety and security issues.”
“Most important,” stated Hendricks, “the legislation does not act on a proposal to corporatize our nation’s air traffic control system. While it was a debate worth having, 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. We are pleased that lawmakers ultimately recognized that such a proposal will place general aviation in constant peril, starve rural America of access to cutting-edge technology, and saddle the traveling public with ever- increasing fees.”
“More remains to be done,” concluded Hendricks. “Both the House and Senate FAA bills contain other important provisions to help the FAA operate more efficiently, including streamlining the aircraft certification process and improving its regulatory consistency. We look forward to working with Congress to enact that legislation early in 2017.”
NATA represents the interests of fixed base operators, charter companies and flight schools.
Meanwhile, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) says that the extension is a “missed opportunity to support U.S. manufacturing jobs.”
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President and CEO Pete Bunce issued the following statement about the introduction of legislation to extend FAA programs through September 30, 2017:
“The decision to introduce a short-term extension of FAA programs into 2017, while necessary to keep the agency operating, is a missed opportunity for significant certification and regulatory reform. The extension does contain a provision to reform the third-class medical system, but it fails to address the broader certification and regulatory changes needed to improve safety, provide more consistency in regulatory interpretation, and keep the U.S. aviation industry competitive in the global economy. There is no excuse for this inaction, particularly when parties in both chambers agree on the importance of these reforms. The result will be the continued inefficient use of industry and FAA resources, and ensure that general aviation manufacturers continue to face unnecessary obstacles to creating jobs and selling their products.
“The certification reforms in both the original House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee-passed bill and Senate-passed bill are very similar and could be implemented quickly to address market and regulatory challenges the industry faces. They would have an immediate, positive impact and contribute to industry growth and employment in a difficult economic environment.
“Unfortunately, with the U.S. Congress choosing not to act on these critical reforms, general aviation manufacturers, maintenance, repair, and overhaul facilities, their respective employees, and their supplier networks are the ones who will lose. While it’s easy to talk the talk about the importance of manufacturing and related jobs in the United States, Congress has missed an important chance to match its words with actions. We hope that members of Congress will recommit themselves to passing these reforms as quickly as possible and well before the September 30, 2017 deadline established in this extension.”