The new year dawns with a new presidential administration to be inaugurated, and Congress gaveling in a new session of business. It’s understandable that readers of Twin & Turbine have questions about what these changes, prompted by the 2016 elections, will mean for business aviation in the coming year and beyond.
Several noteworthy changes to the legislative landscape have taken place. In Congress, the general aviation community has lost some important advocates in both chambers – to cite just two examples, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was defeated in her bid for re-election, while Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-4-KS) is departing Congress to serve as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
At the same time, we know that other industry champions remain on both sides of Capitol Hill – many of whom serve in the House and Senate GA Caucuses – and more broadly speaking, the overall makeup of the Senate and House of Representatives appears largely as it did before November.
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President-elect Trump has nominated several individuals to lead agencies with jurisdiction over policies impacting business aviation, including the Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security and Commerce, among others.
Although congress and the new administration have yet to articulate specific policy proposals, it is encouraging that Republicans and Democrats alike are focusing much of their legislative planning on transportation and infrastructure, including improvements for the nation’s aviation system.
While we welcome that discussion, we know that the year will likely present challenges as well. For example, the debate over FAA reauthorization will continue, and we can expect that those who have looked to that debate to propose a privatized ATC system, funded by user fees, will resume their attempts to make such a system a reality.
Whether presented with challenges or opportunities, NBAA will remain focused on educating new and returning lawmakers, regulators and other policymakers about the value of business aviation to the nation’s economy and transportation system.
These efforts are most effective when NBAA’s voice is echoed by those of the people in our membership. That is why NBAA recently joined with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), our partner in the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, to launch the new #BizAvWorks initiative.
Use of the #BizAvWorks hashtag in social media allows you to retweet, “like” and otherwise share positive statements about the industry with the more than 20,000 followers on the campaign’s Twitter and Facebook platforms, including elected officials and civic leaders.
When the new administration begins its work, and a new congressional session gets underway, I am confident you will help us ensure that the industry’s importance is well understood. After all, in large and small states, red and blue ones, rural towns and urban areas, on the coasts and in the Heartland, business aviation is essential to citizens, companies and communities everywhere.