NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen told members of Congress that the GA community remains committed to continued progress toward a NextGen system.
“For years, general aviation has been at forefront of our nation’s modernization effort,” Bolen noted. “At NBAA, we believe that general aviation will be every bit as fundamental to America’s future as it has been to its past, and we are prepared to work with the Senate to continue to build that future.”
Bolen’s testimony came before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security at a hearing focused on the future of the nation’s air transportation system and a “reauthorization” package for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He noted that the business aviation community had been severely affected by the economic downturn. Yet, in spite of the challenges faced by the industry, support remained steadfast for FAA reauthorization legislation, including an adjustment to the general aviation (GA) fuel tax to help pay for aviation system modernization.
“Aviation plays a critical role in driving economic growth and investment across the country,” Bolen told members of the subcommittee. “We strongly support your work to improve our nation’s aviation system, which will also significantly contribute to economic growth and job creation. In these challenging economic times, the importance of a robust transportation system cannot be overemphasized.”
Bolen reiterated the value of a modernized system for the entire nation, pointing out that accelerating the transition to NextGen will advance important national objectives like expanding system capacity and reducing congestion, reducing long-term costs to the FAA, enhancing safety, and even reducing the industry’s environmental footprint. He also underscored how the industry has already expressed full support for legislative solutions to facilitate modernization.
“Business aviation has long been working to make NextGen a reality,” Bolen said. He told the subcommittee that those in business aviation were early adopters of GPS navigation systems and supporters of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), a technology that is now the cornerstone of the modernization effort. “Just as we have supported forward-looking technologies, we will continue to support forward-thinking policies for achieving our shared goal of leading the world in aviation,” Bolen continued.
“Make no mistake about it, these are very difficult times and projections are that things will get worse in 2010,” Bolen said.
“However, in spite of all the challenges faced by the business aviation community, one thing has remained constant – our continued support for comprehensive FAA reauthorization legislation and modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system.”