While the economy has grown stronger, there is still a lot of work to do to support business aviation’s recovery in the policy arena, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told the attendees at a chief pilots roundtable late last week in Washington, D.C. “The expectation is, as we work our way through the remainder of 2014, that the U.S. economy will continue to strengthen,” he said, noting gains in aviation fuel sales and flight activity, as well as declining inventory and stabilizing sales prices for pre-owned aircraft.
“What we are seeing is probably the best year since the Great Recession,” he told the roundtable members. “But we can’t rest on our laurels, because in Washington next year it will be a big year.” He cited a new Congress and a debate over reauthorization of the FAA, whose authority and funding levels are set to expire next September, that will touch on “several major issues.”
According to Bolen, these include aviation user fees, which NBAA opposes in favor of maintaining the existing fuel tax; ATC privatization, which “threatens to erode general aviation’s access to airspace and airports”; and NextGen modernization efforts. “The best opportunity for shaping the right policy outcomes for the business aviation community is to ensure we can continue to galvanize our industry,” concluded Bolen.