The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, seeking additional guidance on the loan and grant provisions for air carriers, including certain general aviation operators, enacted as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
The letter requests that the Treasury Department consider the unique scale and business operations of general aviation air carriers and fixed base operators (FBOs) when developing guidance on the loan and grant programmes. Under the CARES Act, general aviation businesses and FBOs that are contractors to the scheduled airlines are eligible to apply for payroll support grants and loans.
However, the initial guidance issued by the Treasury Department presents challenges for general aviation businesses, as certain requirements were structured for the scheduled airlines. In their letter, NATA and NBAA have requested that the secretary provide additional guidance and flexibility for the general aviation community while protecting taxpayer dollars.
The letter emphasises the critical role of general aviation in connecting communities at thousands of airports not served by the scheduled airlines. The industry serves 5,000 airports across the nation, transporting time-sensitive equipment and medical personnel, air ambulance flights and dozens of other critical missions as the country responds to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“NATA and our industry partners are grateful to Congress, the Treasury Department and the agencies for working swiftly and cooperatively with us to address the needs of our members, who not only provide important services every day, but are uniquely positioned to assist in these times of great need. We are pleased they heard our request to include Part 135 and other general aviation businesses in the CARES Act,” states NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts.
“NBAA worked hard to advocate for general aviation air carriers during the development of the CARES Act, and we are pleased that our industry has the potential to access these loan and grant programmes. We encourage the Treasury Department to carefully consider the unique challenges our members face in applying for these programmes as further guidance is developed,” adds NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
The associations also expressed support for a recent order by the Department of Transportation to better define air service requirements for companies receiving assistance under the CARES Act. They also asked the Treasury Department to consider that most NATA and NBAA members are not publicly traded companies, have limited liquidity and are not required to report operating metrics as described in the initial guidance.