Coronavirus: Cares Act provides aid for business aviation

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The US Government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which includes measures intended to help the US aviation companies survive the Coviv-19 pandemic, has been broadly welcomed by the industry, including the business aviation sector.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a US$2 trillion package of aid signed off last week. It contains US$80bn of assistance for the aviation sector in the form of loans and salary benefits and provides US$10bn in grants for airports with commercial airline services. US$100 million has allocated to general aviation airports.

Part 135 certificated charter operators and Part 145 MRO businesses are included in the package. FBOs that provide ground handling services to commercial airlines are also eligible for some relief. The Act also provides relief from ticket tax and fuel tax for Part 135 operators.

The NBAA, which led efforts to secure aid for business and general aviation to the US Government in the form of a letter, welcomed the CARES Act. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, “On balance, this bill is helpful for general aviation.

“The industry clearly made its voice heard in ensuring that the important provisions for general aviation airports, general aviation commercial operators and other small businesses were considered as this legislation was assembled, and we look forward to the bill’s passage into law.”

AOPA welcomed the measures for airports. AOPA president Mark Baker said, “We need these airports and I want to thank those in Congress who understand the importance of them, especially the thousands of small airports across the country.

“I appreciate the fact that they ensured this emergency funding is a priority as the nation works to meet the challenges caused by this pandemic. These airports provide critical services to many communities and account for millions of operations each year, while also doing distinguished service during emergencies including natural disasters.”

However, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), which represents almost 2,300 aviation businesses, criticized the CARES Act for being written mainly to address the challenges commercial aviation faces and for imposing conditions on recipient companies. It said the Act “falls short” in helping the immediate crisis facing thousands of aviation businesses that provide critical services to our infrastructure.

“We are disappointed that the immediate relief needed for aviation businesses was largely left out of the Act,” said NATA’s President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “While these businesses may be eligible for the other small business support provided in the Act, the authors failed to recognize that aviation businesses in the United States support 1.2 million jobs and US$247 billion in annual economic activity.”

“NATA will continue our fight for additional resources for general aviation businesses. We are already in discussions with Members of Congress about what relief is immediately needed for these businesses to continue to support our Nation’s important aviation infrastructure,” added Obitts.

“Aviation businesses will be a lynchpin in our nation’s response to the coronavirus and a critical part of the recovery of the national air space system. These vital businesses help keep aviation moving, and we have to do everything we can to support them,” concluded Obitts.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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