Testifying before Congress during a Feb. 12 hearing on FAA reauthorization, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen challenged those questioning the value of business aviation or mischaracterizing its use.
During the House Aviation Subcommittee hearing, Bolen discussed negative media coverage of the industry, disparagement of business aviation by populist politicians and the public, and calls by editorialists and those same politicians for companies to get rid of their business aircraft.
“Business aviation is essential to America,” Bolen told the subcommittee. “Unfortunately, an understanding of that reality is not reflected in calls for companies to divest of their business airplanes. Instead, such proposals are prompted by a caricature of business aviation that is totally unrepresentative of our community, and dangerous. It’s dangerous because it’s costing jobs…threatening an entire manufacturing base…taking away a tool many companies absolutely rely on to remain competitive and survive.”
Bolen told the committee that: “Instead of telling companies that they can’t use a general aviation aircraft to compete, survive and protect jobs, [you] should be looking for ways to increase general aviation manufacturing jobs, promote economic growth in communities without airline service and support companies’ efforts to be as productive and efficient as possible.”
Bolen did not mention President Obama’s use of a presidential 747 for trips around the country that might better and more efficiently be served by a Gulfstream; a habit seen as hypocritical and drawing increasing criticism from the general aviation community.