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NATA News - General Aviation Businesses Remain a Critical Link in the Face of a Shrinking Airline Footprint

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View HTML Version of Newsletter   June 8, 2020 — Volume 19, Issue 23 

   This Week's Top Stories 

Last week, the Department of Transportation issued a final order on adjustments to service obligations, granting point exemptions to 15 Covered Carriers. As air carrier service at commercial airports slowly recovers, general aviation remains uniquely able to provide access and connectivity to thousands of airports around the country.


The DOT issued a Show Cause Order 2020-5-5 on May 22, 2020, tentatively granting point exemptions to the 15 carriers. Interested parties were given until May 28, 2020 to file comments or objections to the Department’s tentative findings. Some of the comments noted the proposed exemptions would result in significant job losses, decreased access to transportation for or in support of medical treatment, interruptions for those using air service to commute to work or visit clients, and reduced service for areas that depend upon tourism, as well as other detriments to the local and national economies.

According to the order, “The Department declines to modify our tentative findings with regard to Portland, Maine; Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; Rochester, Minnesota; and Palm Springs, California.” 


“The utility of general aviation services when faced by a shrinking airline footprint is not a new topic of conversation. However, lately, we are hearing that more and more communities are realizing the vital benefits that general aviation businesses provide as a critical link to services, lifeline for medical response, tool to support and mobilize their workforce, and in some cases, a means to even grow their business during a pandemic,” stated NATA President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “As air service demand rebounds, general aviation businesses are uniquely positioned to quickly and efficiently assist in providing essential services that support and empower people, businesses, and communities nationwide.” Read more. 


NATA Requests Rulemaking to Improve Pilot Check Rides

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA), on behalf of its members, is conducting air carrier operations under Part 135, requested rulemaking to expand the number of pilot line checks performed by operators, improving safety and decreasing demands on limited FAA resources. NATA’s petition, if adopted, would allow FAA-approved company check pilots to conduct the pilot line checks required by § 135.299 throughout the certificate holder’s fleet of aircraft that are of the same category and class. In addition, NATA requested the FAA provide guidance specifying the suggested content for the pilot line check.


“Although NATA previously filed a petition for exemption permitting the same authority for a limited duration due to COVID-19, we subsequently determined that the safety and efficiency gains afforded by this relief were beneficial enough to warrant a permanent change through a petition for rulemaking,” stated NATA President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “This amendment will result in long-term cost savings, safety improvement, and efficiency gains for operators, as well as a positive impact for the FAA and, potentially, the environment.”


NATA notes additional benefits, such as lower FAA costs from decreased inspector travel for checks, increased time for inspectors to perform other oversight functions, and safety benefits from decreased operational exposures (due to fewer flights conducted specifically for checks).


Further, because these changes allow a reduction in the number of flights that are conducted solely for the purpose of performing the line check, the change could prove beneficial to the environment. Read more.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act Gives Business Owners More Flexibility & Time

On June 5, the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010) was signed into law – legislation extending the time allotted for PPP loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for loan forgiveness. Also key to the bill is a change in the threshold for the amount of PPP funds required to be spent on payroll costs to 60% of the loan amount.


The bill, which was drafted to fix several PPP technical issues, does the following:


–  Establishes a minimum maturity of five years for a paycheck protection loan with a remaining balance after forgiveness;
–  Extends the covered period during which a loan recipient may use such funds for certain expenses while remaining eligible for forgiveness;
–  Raises the non-payroll portion of a forgivable covered loan amount from the current 25% up to 40%;
–  Extends the period in which an employer may rehire or eliminate a reduction in employment, salary, or wages that would otherwise reduce the forgivable amount of a paycheck protection loan. However, the forgivable amount must be determined without regard to a reduction in the number of employees if the recipient is (1) unable to rehire former employees and is unable to hire similarly qualified employees, or (2) unable to return to the same level of business activity due to compliance with federal requirements or guidance related to COVID-19;
–  Revises the deferral period for paycheck protection loans, allowing recipients to defer payments until they receive compensation for forgiven amounts;
–  Notes that recipients who do not apply for forgiveness shall have 10 months from the program’s expiration to begin making payments;
–  Eliminates a provision that makes a paycheck protection loan recipient who has such indebtedness forgiven ineligible to defer payroll tax payments;
–  Allows businesses that took a PPP loan to also delay payment of their payroll taxes.


The full text is available here.


NATA Executives to Speak at CJI Global 2020

Starting at 3pm in Hong Kong, traveling through the Middle East, Africa, and Europe and finishing at 3pm in New York, the July 8 Corporate Jet Investor Global 2020 Conference is the first truly global business aviation digital event. It will have more than 12 hours of thought leadership, market intelligence, interactive panel discussions, digital networking, audience polling, and more.


NATA President & CEO Timothy Obitts will speak on the "Working With Regulators – The View From Associations" panel. Obitts will be joined by Ed Bolen, President & CEO of NBAA, and Athar Husain Khan, Secretary General of EBAA, to discuss the regulatory issues of the day for business aviation and how the associations are working to address them.


Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack will participate on “The Battle Against Illegal Charter” panel to discuss the opportunities and challenges for the sector of business aviation. He will be joined by Dave Edwards of The Air Charter Association, and David Norton of McKinley & Norton. 


Click here to register today!


   Association Highlights:

NATA’s “Communicating with the Press” Resource


Now is a unique time to redefine what business aviation means to the wider world. Particularly as things begin to open again from the coronavirus shutdowns, more attention from the media is being given to business aviation. NATA is pleased to provide our members with this video presentation, Communicating with the Press, to make sure you are prepared for any media interactions that you may have. From initial contact, to understanding the nuances of on and off record, to controlling your own narrative, we have the information you need to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. 


Additional resources, including “Communicating the Value of Your Business and the Aviation Business Industry” are also available on NATA’s website in the Press Room under the News tab.



Did you know that NATA offers four Programs tailored for air charter businesses to help assist with pilot acquisition and retention?


   -  BRAND NEW! Pilot Group Term Life Insurance is provided to pilots, their spouses, and members of NATA. Get the coverage and timely service you deserve. Program highlights include coverage up to $1.5M, no exclusions except suicide which is removed after two years of coverage, portable policies, and no future health questions once enrolled.

   -  Loss of License Insurance Program further protects your pilots — a crucial advantage in the current challenging environment for pilot staffing and retention. All participants are treated as one entity through the NATA plan, allowing for an easy underwriting experience and premium reductions created by the larger buying pool.

   -  The NATA FAA Medical Certification Services benefit program is available to all Part 135 air carriers and their pilots, as well as Part 91 corporate flight departments and their pilots, for a budget-friendly flat, per-pilot monthly fee. NATA members are eligible for a significant additional discount.

   -  NATA-Med powered by AirDocs is an exclusive program that improves operational safety and inflight assistance - 24/7. NATA-Med reduces liability by giving pilots inflight access to medical personnel. In addition, the service helps avoid costly and unnecessary flight diversions and coordinates ground assets post flight. Program assists before, during, and after flights.


Learn more at



Join the FAA for a Virtual General Aviation Town Hall on June 18


Join the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry leaders for a virtual General Aviation Town Hall on Thursday, June 18, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. Because of the longtime collaboration between the industry and the FAA, the agency has been able to act swiftly to address safety concerns affecting the general aviation community during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The virtual meeting will be live streamed to the public on the FAA’s Facebook and YouTube account. 


CISA Releases First Cyber Essentials Toolkit


Recently, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the first in a series of six Cyber Essentials Toolkits. This is a starting point for small businesses and government agencies to understand and address cybersecurity risk as they do other risks. CISA’s toolkits will provide greater detail, insight and resources on each of the Cyber Essentials’ six “Essential Elements” of a Culture of Cyber Readiness. Today’s launch highlights the first “Essential Element: Yourself, The Leader” and will be followed each month by a new toolkit to correspond with each of the six “Essential Elements.” Toolkit 1 (available at focuses on the role of leadership in forging a culture of cyber readiness in their organization with an emphasis on strategy and investment.


Developed in collaboration with small businesses and state and local governments, Cyber Essentials aims to equip smaller organizations that historically have not been a part of the national dialogue on cybersecurity with basic steps and resources to improve their cybersecurity. Cyber Essentials includes two parts – guiding principles for leaders to develop a culture of security, and specific actions for leaders and their IT professionals to put that culture into action.


Each of the six Cyber Essentials includes a list of actionable items anyone can take to reduce cyber risks. These are: 

   -  Drive cybersecurity strategy, investment, and culture; 

   -  Develop heightened level of security awareness and vigilance; 

   -  Protect critical assets and applications; 

   -  Ensure only those who belong on your digital workplace have access; 

   -  Make backups and avoid loss of info critical to operations; and 

   -  Limit damage and restore normal operations quickly. 


To learn more about Cyber Essentials, visit  



IAWA GA Forum Virtual Aviation Leadership Event


The International Aviation Womens Association is hosting its third annual General Aviation Leadership Forum on Thursday, June 25th in an interactive, virtual sphere. This all-aviation leadership event is exclusively organized and presented by women with exhibition booths from industry-leading companies.


The GA Forum will connect, inspire and lead women across the globe. With unmatched networking and equipping opportunities, this event is not one to be missed. The best part? Registration is free. You can sign-up today to gain access to keynote sessions, panel discussions and exhibitions booths for 24-hours starting 9:00am EST on Thursday, June 25th. For access beyond the 24-hour window, you can purchase a VIP Pass ($147).


   Membership Spotlight:

Bombardier Releases its 2019 Activity Report, Highlighting Sustainability


Last week, Bombardier released its 2019 Activity Report, reaffirming its commitment to sustainability and highlighting the Company’s progress over the past year towards achieving its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. “As a company entrusted to safely move millions of people around the globe every day, Bombardier is proud to be a leader in sustainable business practices,” said Éric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier Inc. “Moreover, the current global health and economic crisis has demonstrated that sustainability is more important today than ever before. With this Activity Report, we hope to send a clear message reaffirming our commitment to pursuing ambitious ESG goals as we look to move beyond the current crisis.”


Notable achievements from the past year include playing a leadership role in promoting the adoption and availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in business aviation; exceeding its goal of providing more than 1,000 paid internships in Canada and launching an updated Code of Ethics, Supplier Code of Conduct and enhanced ethics and compliance program. In 2020, Bombardier expects to announce and deploy a renewed global sustainability strategy, overseen by its Board of Directors, to create value for stakeholders and further the company’s goal of building a world-class, sustainable business for the long-term.


Read the full 2019 report here:



TAC Air Promotes New General Manager to Fort Smith FBO


TAC Air has promoted Christina Lang to lead its fixed base operation in Fort Smith, AR as General Manager (GM). A six-year veteran of TAC Air, Lang is prepared to join the team at TAC Air - FSM as a hands-on manager of the business using her background in administration and operations. Lang officially stepped into this role the last week of May and as she expressed is, “excited for the opportunity to become a part of the Fort Smith team and support the TAC Air commitment to providing customers and tenants SERVICE WITH NO CEILING.” As GM, Lang’s key responsibilities involve overseeing day-to-day operations, hangar management, and leasing while maintaining relationships with TAC Air customers and the Fort Smith Regional Airport. Lang relocated to Fort Smith from Dallas, where she served three years in a system-wide role for TAC Air as Manager of Administrative Services. “The past three years I have been able to experience and learn firsthand from 15 different GMs and CSMs running FBOs in the TAC Air system to help me prepare for this hands-on type of position in a market I can help nurture and grow,” said Lang. Read more.



Avflight Grand Rapids Opens New FBO Facility


Avflight Corp., in conjunction with Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA), is proud to announce the opening of its new FBO and hangar facility at GRR in Grand Rapids, MI. Thanks to the tremendous effort of the FBO, airport, and construction teams, the project—which broke ground on Sept. 25, 2019 —met its spring 2020 projection despite any complications during the COVID-19 health crisis. “We are thrilled to bring Avflight’s expertise and passion for aviation to GRR as a gateway to West Michigan,” said Garrett Hain, Avflight’s Vice President of Finance. “The region is full of vibrant communities and is an epicenter for business, education, art, dining, entertainment, and tourism in Michigan. Our investment reflects our long-term commitment to the airport and the services it provides.” Read more.



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