Today,U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Angus King (I-ME), introduced the Promoting the Launch of Aviation’s Next Era (PLANE) Act of 2019. NATA supports the introduction of this bipartisan legislation and urges Congress to take swift action to pass the bill which contains a provision that would end the diversion of noncommercial jet fuel tax revenues, a key priority for NATA.
“NATA thanks Senator Inhofe for his continued leadership on general aviation issues. The PLANE Act includes a provision that would undo an ill-founded policy that has taken money away from the aviation system for over a decade. This legislation will enable NATA’s members to keep fuel prices competitive, and ensure the tax revenue from jet fuel sales supports aviation system users. We appreciate Senator Inhofe for hearing our concerns and working to solve them," stated NATA President Gary Dempsey.
In the 2005 surface transportation reauthorization, Congress enacted a provision that increased the assessed tax rate on noncommercial jet fuel from 21.9 cents per gallon to 24.4 cents per gallon to align it with the highway diesel tax rate. This change was made in response to a claim that diesel trucks were fueling up at FBOs to evade the 2.5 cent difference in tax, while ignoring the fact that jet fuel and highway diesel have never been competitive from a retail price point. The provision also moved the noncommercial jet fuel tax receipts to the highway trust fund, rather than the airport and airways trust fund, which finances airport infrastructure improvements. A 2016 review by the Government Accountability Office secured by NATA found that billions of dollars of tax revenue had been inappropriately diverted for highway use.
The PLANE Act:
- Explicitly states that pilots facing an investigation by FAA can appeal to a federal district court for a de novo
trial and clarifies which party bears the burden of proof.
- Enhances legal protections for the aviation community by ensuring the NTSB has the authority to review the denial of an airmen medical certificate and require FAA to find reasonable grounds to require the reexamination of a pilot certificate.
- Requires additional transparency in any FAA rulemaking, and full consideration of the impact any rulemaking may have on any certificate holders.
- Establishes a public-private partnership for general aviation airports to attract private sector investment.
- Designates qualified GA airports as “Disaster Relief Airports,” so that when a disaster occurs, they have the infrastructure to better support community response efforts.
- Empowers trained private citizens who want to certify pilots and aircraft (DPE/DAR) by giving them necessary civil liability protection.
- Allows Air Traffic Control applicants to include classroom and simulation training within an FAA-approved formal training process.
- Ensures that tax receipts from all aviation fuel sources are deposited in the airport and airways trust fund.
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The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for 80 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.