While celebrating its 75th year at NBAA ’11, Elliott Aviation is also celebrating an end to the longest and deepest recession in the industry’s history and the beginning of new opportunities.
Nine general aviation organizations find themselves oddly aligned with the nation’s airlines in opposing President Obama’s call for a new $100 per-flight tax for turbine aircraft flying under IFR flight plans, part of his plan to address the nation’s deficit.
When President Obama was in his business aviation-bashing mode earlier this year, the general aviation industry countered with a rally in Wichita that attracted more than 2,000 GA workers. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was there, and he lauded the importance of general aviation manufacturers to the state of Kansas and the U.S. industrial base as a whole.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association president Pete Bunce decried President Obama’s “negative rhetoric” about the GA industry during a rally last month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The general aviation industry’s rebound continues to sputter, according to first-half shipment numbers released this afternoon by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. In the first six months of the year, total worldwide GA airplane shipments fell 15.5 percent from the first half of 2010, while total billings were down 22.3 percent, to $7.3 billion.
The current GPS/LightSquared frequency battle could be described as Washington’s most recent electro-political struggle.
Just days after commending President Obama for his June 28 visit to an Alcoa plant in Davenport, Iowa, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey found his next day broadside against business aviation “baffling and disturbing.”
President Obama had barely concluded his June 29 press conference when my e-mail box began filling up with responses from the general-aviation industry. The NBAA expressed “dismay” and announced that it was sending a “strongly worded” letter to the President about his remarks, which it said “reflect a total lack of understanding” of the field.
As part of an industry still struggling to recover from a recession and continuing attacks by the media and politicians alike, I was appalled by President Obama’s press conference Wednesday in which he used his bully pulpit to vilify corporate-jet owners. Not surprised. But appalled.
In a resumption of his campaign against business aviation, President Obama yesterday called for an end to “tax breaks” for corporate jet owners.