The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has applauded the United States Senate passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan, which provides additional targeted relief for the aviation industry. The bill will now go back to the House of Representatives for final consideration and passage before being sent to President Biden.
Under the bill, the Payroll Support Program (PSP) for air carriers and general aviation commercial operators would receive $14 billion, plus another $1 billion for qualifying contractors. The Department of the Treasury is directed to distribute funds by 15 April and extend the programme through September 2021.
The legislation also provides an additional $8 billion in funding for airport infrastructure projects, $100 million of which would be designated for general aviation and non-primary airports.
Included in the legislation is the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Act, initially introduced by Representatives Rick Larsen and Ron Estes. This establishes a temporary relief programme to provide a 50 per cent cost share to help cover costs of pay, benefits and training for aerospace manufacturing employees at risk of being furloughed or who were furloughed due to the pandemic.
For small businesses, the legislation includes an additional $15 billion for targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The far-reaching package also includes as much as $14 billion for vaccine distribution and billions for healthcare-focused initiatives, including expanded COVID-19 testing and tracing.
“This legislation brings critical relief to the business aviation industry as the ongoing reductions in business travel and the potential for additional COVID-related impacts create significant uncertainty for our community,” says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “We applaud the recent Senate action and urge the House of Representatives to act quickly and ensure our industry, and all Americans, receive this targeted assistance as we look to recover from the pandemic.”
NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts adds: “We applaud the Senate on its passage of this bill, which will provide much needed support for general aviation businesses. We look forward to quick action in the House followed by President Biden's signature, and we stand ready to assist our members as they pursue the federal assistance authorised in this legislation.”
Following US Senate passage, the House has now approved a $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus bill which is expected to be signed into law by President Biden. The bill contains many provisions NATA actively supported during consideration, including another round of Payroll Support Program funding for air carriers and their contractors. It will also make an additional $100 million available for general aviation airports impacted by the pandemic, and creates a new $3 billion programme to support the aviation manufacturing workforce.
“Like every other American industry, general aviation has struggled. We are optimistic that we are beginning a slow recovery, and today's vote to approve additional support for our industry will put us firmly on a positive path,” says Timothy Obitts. “Our members, who serve the vast majority of our nation not accessible by the airlines, have continued to play a vital role during the pandemic. We are facilitating the transport of vaccines to rural and remote populations, moving time-sensitive test specimens and positioning much-needed PPE for medical personnel. The support in this bill is what is needed to ensure we can continue these critical missions.”
The bill contains $14 billion to extend the air carrier payroll support programme and $1 billion for contractors, $8 billion for airports including $100 million for general aviation airports and $3 billion for aviation manufacturers' payrolls.
“As we have before, NATA will continue to work closely with the federal agencies and Capitol Hill to ensure that once the bill becomes law, the government promptly and properly meets its mandates, and we will continue to be a resource for NATA members who are applying for federal assistance,” concludes Obitts.