State Advocacy Network News
| Working Group Meets with IRS Regarding Taxes on Aircraft Management
NATA scheduled and held an IRS-FET working group meeting with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) last week to discuss the conclusions reached by the Service that are contrary to several long-standing commercial Federal Excise Tax (FET) revenue rulings - namely that commercial FET is applicable to the amounts paid by aircraft owners for contracted aircraft management services.
During the meeting, the working group explained in great detail how the aviation services industry functions, the interrelationships with FAA standards (Part 91 versus Part 135), and how the owner of an aircraft interacts with a management company, in contrast to a charter customer. IRS officials now concur that there is a need to provide clear and precise guidance and that the current set of available official documents are not adequate.
The working group intends to propose that this issue be placed on the Agency's Guidance Priority List. This list is used by the IRS to prioritize tax issues that need to be addressed through regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices and other forms of official guidance. In addition, NATA is scheduling an upcoming meeting for the working group and the IRS audit division to discuss the possibilities of putting a hold on audits until the IRS issues clarity and precision for our industry.
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In 2012, the environmental group, Friends of the Earth (FOE), filed suit in Federal District Court in the District of Columbia asking that the court compel the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a decision on an endangerment finding regarding lead emissions from general aviation aircraft. Last week, the court ruled in favor of the EPA and found that the issuance of an endangerment finding is “not a mandatory or nondiscretionary” task under federal law.
The court’s ruling in favor of the EPA ensures that the agency has adequate time to make a considered decision on the matter. In 2010, the EPA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking asking for information and data relating to the emission lead from general aviation aircraft. NATA, along with AOPA, GAMA, EAA and NBAA responded with comments that outlined the associations concern with the regulation of lead emissions from GA aircraft. The coalition of associations continues to work with the EPA and the newly formed FAA Fuels Program Office on implementing the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee’s recommendations regarding transitioning the industry to a lead free aviation gasoline.
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|FAA Issues Tower Closure Guidance
Last week, following the agency’s decision to close 149 contract towers as a result of sequestration, the FAA issued guidance on tower closure. The guidance, issued in an FAA Press Release, contains information on facilities and equipment, personnel and operations at airports with a contract tower slated for closure. According to the guidance:
On April 7, 2013, the FAA will begin to cease funding for 149 contract control towers in three phases that did not meet the national interest screening criteria. Funding will cease for 24 contract towers on April 7th, 46 contract towers on April 21st, and the remaining 79 contract towers on May 5th. While we regret the need to cease FAA funding of these towers, we have worked to ensure that the airport environment remains safe as we make the transition.
Click here to view the FAA guidance on tower closures.
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The FAA has issued an order correcting errors in an earlier order making changes in the format of Notices To Airman (NOTAM). The original order became effective on April 23, 2012, and this newer order will become effective on April 23, 2013.
According to the new order, “The FAA is transitioning to a NOTAM that is in line with International Civil Aviation Organization standards to enable more global consistency in NOTAMs. As the new Federal NOTAM System (FNS) policy is developed, software changes are being made in the U.S. NOTAM System to enable a smoother transition to the FNS.”
Click here to view the new order on NOTAMs.
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|NATA Survey Asks For Input To Support FCC ELT Rulemaking Comments
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NRPM) that considers banning the manufacture and sale of aircraft emergency locator transmitters (ELT) that primarily broadcast on the 121.5 MHz frequency. The FCC NPRM notes that 121.5 MHz ELTs are no longer monitored by satellite and, therefore, beginning a transition to the newer 406 MHz ELTs, which are monitored by satellite, would provide a safety benefit for aircraft operators. In subsequent discussions, the FCC informed NATA and other general aviation associations that the commission is also considering a ban on the continued use of 121.5 MHz ELTs as a part of this rulemaking.
NATA has significant concerns regarding the impact this rulemaking would have on the association’s members, particularly small businesses that operate aircraft. To support the association’s formal comments to the FCC, NATA released a member survey asking for data on the use of the various types of ELTs and the cost impact a ban on the use of 121.5 ELTs would have on the association’s membership. Federal agencies that propose rules that have a significant impact on small businesses are also required to consider flexible alternative approaches that would not over burden those businesses. In addition to asking for data on the impact of a ban on 121.5 MHZ ELTs, the NATA member survey asks for simple information on the number of people a company employs. This data will allow NATA to link the cost impact of this rulemaking to small businesses.
Initial comments to the FCC are due by April 1; therefore, NATA requests that members complete this survey at their earliest convenience. For questions or assistance in completing the survey, please contact NATA Director of Regulatory Affairs Michael France at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to complete the NATA 121.5 ELT Member Survey.
Click here to read the full FCC ELT NPRM.
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|Weekly Regulatory Update
NATA compiles relevant updates from the FAA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security each day from the Federal Register. You may view the latest notices, rules and proposed rules in a single source by clicking here.
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|California Mayor Declares March “General Aviation Appreciation Month”
NATA, along with other national aviation organizations, came together to applaud Yuba City, California Mayor John Buckland as he proclaimed March 2013 as “General Aviation Appreciation Month.” The proclamation highlights the significant contributions general aviation makes to Yuba’s businesses, people and economy.
The proclamation also discusses the city’s continuous support of general and its “significant interest in the continued vitality of general aviation, aerospace, aircraft maintenance, educational institutions and aviation organizations and community airport and airport operators.”
Across California, general aviation contributes $18.2 billion to the state’s economy each year and houses the nation’s busiest airport, Van Nuys Airport. Currently, there are 222 charter flight companies, 670 repair stations, 233 fixed-base operators and 67 flight schools across the state, according to the Alliance for Aviation Across America. The Golden State is home to 181 NATA members.
To view the proclamation from Mayor Buckland and to see other local and state proclamations, click here.
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|Aviation Business And Legislative Conference Session Highlight
New Healthcare Laws — What The Future Will Bring
For many small businesses, the impact of healthcare reform is a number one concern. Our expert, Erica Summers of Conner & Winters, LLP, will discuss the new healthcare laws and their effect on your business. In particular, you will learn about the issues related to Exchanges and how they work, penalties under the new laws, the small business health care tax credit, and what, if anything, your company must provide in the way of health benefits.
NATA has discounted rooms at $229++ plus tax, for single/double occupancy. The deadline to receive a discounted room rate is Thursday, April 4, after which the hotel rack rate will be charged. Online reservations available from the NATA Web site, or you can contact the hotel directly at (703) 413-1300.
To view the Aviation Business and Legislative Conference brochure or to register, visit http://www.nata.aero/ABLC.
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NATA annually recognizes individuals, offices, and organizations demonstrating excellence in their field and the highest level of customer service. NATA's Industry Excellence Awards are given to exceptional individuals and organizations that have helped improve the general aviation community.
NATA will present five awards to the following recipients:
The awards will be presented during the NATA Industry Excellence Awards Dinner on April 22 at the Renaissance Capital View in Arlington, Virginia. The dinner will be held in conjunction with the association's Aviation Business & Legislative Conference.
Click here to read the full press release and learn more about the award recipients.
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|New NATA Workers' Compensation Insurance Program™ Savings Webinar - FREE
NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program administrator, Beacon Aviation Insurance Services, will host a FREE webinar to review the specifics of the New NATA Workers’ Compensation Insurance Program. The webinar will last approximately 30-minutes and will allow for a Q&A session at the end.
Our webinar discussion includes the following program information:
- Overview of Beacon Aviation Insurance Services (administrator)
- Overview of Companion P&C (carrier)
- How to get a Quote
- Coverage Overview
- How to get the best pricing
- Dividend Plan overview and Payout schedule
- Safety, Loss Control and Claims Management assistance
- Important Dates to remember (30-60-90 days prior to your renewal)
Whether you have participated in the previous program or are interested in participating in the new program, you will learn about our new program and receive answers to your specific questions. It will also be helpful to those who just want more information about the program, review expectations of cost-savings, understand how the Dividend Plan functions, and discuss value-added safety and loss control measures for cutting costs.
Speakers: John Cunningham - President, Bob McManus - Vice President, Dick Woodall - Director Sales & Marketing - Beacon Aviation Insurance Services
When: April 4, 2013 from 1:00 - 2:00 pm eastern
Click here to register.
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|NATA Workers' Compensation Insurance Program™ Fact Of The Week
NATA’s new Workers’ Compensation Insurance program includes a No-Interest Payment Option
Beacon Aviation Insurance Services, the administrator of NATA Workers' Compensation Insurance Program™, worked with Companion P&C to create an industry-best payment plan.
With as little as 15% down, you can get 10 equal monthly payments that will allow you the flexibility to hold onto your cash and have control over your finances. Payments can also be made online, allowing for easier bill-pay options.
Contact your agent and let him or her know you want a quote from the NEW NATA Workers’
Compensation Insurance Program™ administered by Beacon Aviation Insurance (www.beaconais.com).
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|NATA Member Introduces Live Online Chat Support
Duncan Aviation launched live online chat support for select pages of its corporate website, www.DuncanAviation.aero. Customers seeking information from Duncan Aviation’s Parts and Rotables Sales will get immediate answers to their questions, such as stock quantities and availability.
“The world is accustomed to getting their answers online. With the Live Chat window, we are able to give our internet-savvy customers the same customer service and support without them having to make a phone call or send an email. It’s a great tool, and just one more way we can better serve the customer and fulfill their needs,” said Chris Gress, Duncan Aviation Parts and Rotables Sales Manager.
The Live Chat button will be visible on all Parts and Rotables pages of www.DuncanAviation.aero, when Parts and Rotables Sales Representatives are available for support. As demand for live online support increases, it is likely more departments within Duncan Aviation will provide online chat assistance.
Click here to read more.
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|EPIC Selects NATA Safety 1st as Training Provider
NATA announced recently in a press release that EPIC has chosen to partner with NATA Safety 1st to provide training to its branded FBOs. EPIC and UVair FBO Network locations will receive comprehensive training in an easy to administer, self-paced and self-directed online platform through NATA Safety 1st.
"EPIC is excited to partner with NATA because Safety 1st is the recognized name in aviation line service training," said Michael Mooney, Vice President and Chief Risk Officer for EPIC. "Our customers asked for our help in reducing the cost of training line service personnel while maintaining the EPIC FBO Network's focus on operating safely. The choice was simple, NATA Safety 1st."
"By choosing to make NATA Safety 1st training products available to its branded customers, EPIC has reiterated its commitment to safety and quality," said NATA Director of Safety & Training Michael France. "We are pleased that EPIC has chosen NATA Safety 1st to help them meet their training goals."
EPIC and UVair FBO Network locations will have access to the full range of NATA Safety 1st training products at special network pricing, including the Professional Line Service Training and the new Supervisor Online training program. The Supervisor Online training program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to meet the requirements of 14 CFR Part 139.321.
More information on NATA's Safety 1st programs is available at www.nata.aero/plst.
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|First NATA Safety 1st FBO Audit Completed
Originally appeared in the 2013 1st quarter edition of Aviation Business Journal
By Lindsey C. McFarren
In November 2012, the first audit was conducted in accordance with the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard. I was lucky enough to observe the audit and will share my experiences with you below. The Aviation Business Journal published an article introducing the audit in the first quarter of 2012, but here’s a quick refresher on the program.
NATA Safety 1st established the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard to promote industry best practices and Safety Management Systems (SMS) development among ground handling providers. This audit standard is the first published audit for FBOs and other ground handling service providers. The NATA Safety and Security Committee, which includes representatives from large and small FBOs, on-demand charter operators, fractional program managers, insurance brokers, fuel companies, and more, assisted in drafting this important new audit standard.
The NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard’s two primary objectives are: to create a consistent operational safety standard for FBOs, airports, and other facilities, while increasing the overall safety level of these operations, and to provide FBO or other ground handling facilities customers with an alternative to costly proprietary audits of these operations.
Click here to read the full article.
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NATA E-Learn Webinars
Click here to view a listing of archived webinar recordings.
NATA is the National Air Transportation Association
Founded in 1940, NATA aggressively promotes safety and the success of aviation service businesses through its advocacy efforts before government, the media and the public as well as by providing valuable programs and forums to further its members' prosperity.
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