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Monday, 12 March, 2012

Defeat Amendment To Highway Bill Seeking To Limit Air Tour Operations Over National Parks



March 12, 2012

What’s at Issue
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has offered an amendment to S. 1813, the highway bill, which will likely further limit helicopter tours over national parks.  The amendment is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. 

Why It’s Important
Alexander amendment #1779 would significantly affect air tour operators conducting commercial air tours over national parks by giving the National Park Service (NPS) sole authority to authorize, limit or eliminate air tours. Today, the NPS and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are equal partners in the process for establishing air tour management plans over national parks.  This amendment would make the FAA subordinate to the NPS, thus upsetting the intentional balance between the interests of the environmental community and the air tour operators.

What to Do
Contact your U.S. Senators today or tomorrow morning in opposition to Alexander Amendment #1779.  The Senate is scheduled to vote on the amendment tomorrow, March 13.  NATA’s Legislative Action Center provides association members a quick, easy way to contact your Senators.

NATA Position
NATA is concerned and disappointed that Senator Alexander offered the amendment without any consultation with air tour operators.  The amendment marginalizes the role of the FAA in air tour operations over national parks and tribal lands.  If the amendment passes, it could mean the loss of hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in revenues.  It will also limit access for visitors to our national parks, especially the elderly and the disabled.

Staff Contact:  Kristen Moore
Director, Legislative Affairs

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The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for over 75 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.