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Monday, 11 March, 2024

NATA Opposes Administration’s Onerous Business Aviation Tax Proposals

NATA (National Air Transportation Association) expressed concern about general aviation tax provisions included in the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget released by the White House today. 

“Business aviation is in the crosshairs again at a time when it is needed the most,” said NATA President and CEO Curt Castagna. “The White House budget includes multiple provisions that mischaracterize the value of and would adversely affect the business and general aviation sectors, jeopardizing the jobs they provide and disregarding the critical services they support.”

Nationally, the general aviation sector supports 1.2 million jobs, provides over $247 billion in economic output, and contributes to America’s competitiveness, growth, and continued innovation. General aviation airports, service businesses, and operators aid business development and job creation while supporting law enforcement, medical care, disaster relief, firefighting, and other essential services. They also provide access to the air transportation system for thousands of communities the airlines don’t serve.

“During last week’s State of the Union address, President Biden spoke passionately about our country’s freedom, future possibilities, and job growth—all attributes fostered by our essential industry. Rather than singling out general aviation, the Administration’s first priority should be creating and preserving an environment in which aviation continues to facilitate business growth and contributes to the national economy,” stated Castagna. 

Of particular concern is the Administration’s proposed five-fold increase in the jet fuel tax paid by private and business aircraft operators, to be carried out over five years.

“NATA opposes such an increase in fuel taxes for these private, noncommercial operators. In addition, we are concerned that the Biden Administration is failing to account for the billions of business aviation tax dollars that are diverted from the Airport and Airways Trust Fund (AATF) into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). Such diversion weakens the National Airspace System and could place the safety of the industry at risk. 
“Unfortunately, the Biden Administration is proposing a tax increase it mistakenly believes will benefit the national aviation system. This is not the case. For nearly two decades now, Congress and the IRS have failed to address provisions in the tax code that allow for the HTF to erroneously keep billions of aviation tax dollars that were intended for the AATF,” added Castagna. 

In 2016, the GAO released a report on the impact of diversions of non-commercial jet fuel tax revenues from the AATF to the HTF. The report concluded the diversion of funds stemming from a 2005 change in tax law resulted in a loss to the aviation fund of between one and two billion dollars intended for airport improvements and system modernization. The diversion has continued since the 2016 report, costing the Airport and Airways Trust Fund billions of dollars. 

“Should the Biden Administration seek to have a meaningful increase in funding to the AATF, fixing the multi-billion dollar diversion to the HTF is where we suggest they begin,” concluded Castagna.

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The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for more than 80 years. Representing nearly 3,700 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.