NATA, on behalf of its over 3,700 general aviation business members, has called upon Washington leaders to consider the low risk of virus transmission posed by the general aviation industry when crafting policies on air travel.
In a letter to the Biden administration and Congressional and FAA leadership, NATA cited the general aviation industry's unique operating environment and heightened health safety protocols in its case against “burdensome or undue policies, including domestic preflight COVID testing requirements, that work to hinder an essential industry and cut important ties to the over 40 percent of the nation's population that is not served by the airlines.”
The association noted that because of the industry's controlled environment and increased safeguards, zero cases of COVID-19 transmission have been documented on Part 135 air charter flights. “Travel on private or charter aircraft offers further risk protection: minimal touch points, streamlined service without the inevitable crowds of large airports and fellow passengers typically comprised of known entities, namely colleagues or family members included in common quarantine bubbles,” the letter explains.
The letter also outlines the positive economic impact of general aviation businesses and the local airports they support, which “serve as vital lifelines for communities across the country, particularly in rural regions, by providing critical infrastructure for essential businesses and their employees, aiding in business and job growth, as well as supporting law enforcement, medical care, disaster relief and firefighting. Most recently, Part 135 operators began transporting COVID-19 vaccines to remote communities, a practice that has enormous potential to expedite the equitable distribution of these life-saving doses.”
Further, NATA stands by the national priority to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and has swiftly provided best practice resources, including Safety 1st Clean, to aviation businesses to protect their employees and customers. “We look forward to partnering with the Biden administration on best practices like these that have made general aviation one of the cleanest forms of travel in the COVID era,” the association says. “Those practices, however, can and should be held in balance with a clear vision for America's future beyond the pandemic, and that future must include the economic viability and stability of our general aviation infrastructure and the countless businesses it supports.”