Committee Examines Economic Impact of FAA Regulations on Aviation Small Businesses

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Washington, Feb 5 | comments

The Small Business Committee, led by Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today examined the impact of federal regulations on general aviators, and addressed ways to improve the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) regulatory framework.

The hearing addressed regulations that are increasing costs or stifling growth for small businesses in general aviation, and ways to improve the FAA’s adaptation to technological advancements in the industry. Chairman Graves is a pilot and Co-Chair of both the House General Aviation Caucus and the Congressional Pilots Caucus.

“The general aviation industry employs 1.2 million Americans, and the vast majority of these employers are small businesses,” said Chairman Graves.  “These companies face many challenges, from rising fuel costs to the threat of user fees, and it’s important that federal regulations don’t add even more unnecessary burdens. Many in the general aviation industry see the FAA as out-of-touch and slow to react to a changing industry. As we heard in today’s testimony, small firms need the FAA’s regulatory priorities to promote safety in a way that allows the general aviation community to grow and create jobs.”

Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Quotes:

John Uczekaj, President and CEO, Aspen Avionics, Albuquerque, NM, testifying on behalf of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, said, “One of the biggest challenges we face as a small business is response times for FAA approvals. Each week, small aerospace businesses like Aspen are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars due to approval delays from the FAA…The process is unpredictable and often results in increased product development times and costs as companies develop the product and wait for the FAA to apply resources.”

Austin Heffernan, Owner and Manager, Royal Aircraft Services, Hagerstown, MD, testifying on behalf of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said, “The FAA routinely finds its hands tied by existing regulations when it wants to encourage the adoption of newer technologies and practices that could enhance safety. In many instances, the regulations have evolved in a way that forces the FAA to go well beyond its role as regulator and become directly involved with the operational aspects of the industry.”

Jamail Larkins, President and CEO, Ascension Air, Atlanta, GA, testifying on behalf of the National Business Aviation Association, said, “We also know that FAA policies are central to the operation of small aviation businesses, such as training centers, flight schools and on-demand charter operators, which require approval from the FAA before conducting business. At the same time, as FAA resources are dwindling, the backlog of businesses attempting to gain certification and begin soliciting customers has swelled to nearly 1,000. Some businesses have been told that their wait for approval could take two to three years.”

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