The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have expressed support for the “General Aviation Industry Reparations Act of 2001,” which will provide $2.5 billion in grant funding and $3 billion in loan guarantees for aviation businesses.
Although the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved H.R.3347 in late February by voice vote, NATA president Jim Coyne cautioned there is still a great deal of ground to cover before this legislation becomes law.
Coyne noted that GA was the only segment banned from operating because of federal mandates that still has not received a dime in financial relief. “How is it that the airlines, which were grounded for two days, receive $5 billion in cash, and general aviation, which continues to confront airspace restrictions regularly, has received no financial assistance?” he asked.
GAMA president Ed Bolen said of the committee’s passage of H.R.3347: “It demonstrates their understanding of the harm and financial difficulties suffered by these small businesses and their employees.”
The legislation provides President Bush the power to give priority for compensation to a GA business based on the length of time that business has been unable to operate since September 11. The Air Transportation Stabilization Board would administer the loan guarantees. In addition, the measure compensates laid-off general aviation workers for lost wages and health-care costs.
H.R.3347, sponsored by Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who is chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, now goes to the House floor for debate and a vote. An identical bill introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) must be referred to Senate committees before it goes up for a full vote.