This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
With Congress weighing how best to establish an omnibus relief package for businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has increased its lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, seeking sweeping assistance measures for its constituent aviation businesses.
Among the remedies it is suggesting is for its fuel-supplier members to be able to convert the unsecured credit provided to their customers to federally guaranteed loans. That would also apply to FBOs that provide unsecured credit to airlines for aviation fuel and ancillary services.
The organization also is seeking the ability, over the next six months, for FBOs and aviation businesses, including MRO facilities, flights schools, and Part 135 certificated operators, to be able to have their lease obligations to the airport or their master leaseholder/landlord covered by the federal government out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which currently has a $17 billion surplus. According to the proposal, any businesses that engage in the rent-relief aspect would then be obligated to pay back the covered payments interest-free over a period of 30 years.
Other requests include suspending the fuel tax for GA operations through the end of the year and to require federal, state, and municipal agencies that receive federal assistance related to Covid-19 to contract with Part 135 operators with less than 150 employees to move supplies, equipment, and medical personnel as needed during the crisis unless there is an existing contract with a larger Part 135 certificated operator.
NATA noted that through the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business owners in several states are currently eligible to apply for low-interest loans due to Covid-19, including: California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.