Bizav, Trade Groups Seek Financial Relief

U.S. Capitol

A coalition of six general and business aviation trade groups are asking that government financial relief assistance sought by air carriers in response to the impact from COVID-19 include business aviation charter providers and fractional operators. 

Companies are facing increasing financial peril in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with no certainty of when conditions will improve, the trade groups note. 

“Further, the threat of potential domestic travel restrictions and locally imposed travel restrictions have the potential to cause even more significant harm to these companies as the crisis continues,” the associations said in a letter addressed to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House (D-Calif.); Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader (R-Calif.); Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader (R-Ky.); and Sen. Charles Schumer, Senate Minority Leader (D-N.Y.) 

The letter is signed by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). 

They are requesting that a relief package for the commercial airlines include all air carriers, such as air charter and fractional operators. Such was the case in the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, they said. 

Scheduled airlines serve 10% of the nation’s 5,000 airports. Air carriers provide charter services under Part 135 FAA regulations, while fractional providers operate under Part 91 subpart K and provide connectivity to communities with no other air service. In addition, Part 135 operators conduct almost all air ambulance flights and are part of a network that delivers organs to transplant patients, the letter said. 

“Without both near and medium to long-term relief, many of these air carriers will not survive, resulting in job losses and significant disruptions to the critical services that they provide every day,” the letter said. “With the majority of business aviation air carriers being private companies, their access to capital is more constrained. In the current environment, private equity markets are not able to provide financing, eliminating an important source of liquidity for the industry.” 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.