Local Aviation Impact needs to be communicated to Washington

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The news in the below three articles shows the impact which our industry has at the local level. Sadly that message is not being heard in Washington.

It is frequently rued that aviation has no or inadequate clout in Washington. The trials and tribulations of recent FAA Reauthorizations and the perennial lack of Congressional action on NextGen are the most salient examples of the industry’s seeming inability to get critical legislation passed. The White House’s inattention to the business is replete with examples; here is one.

The sector had a notable win in 2013 when the air traffic unions and airlines association were able to “de-sequester” AT from that fiscal sword of Damocles. The real leverage there might have been the prospect of massively delayed flights home for the holidays for Representatives and Senators. Even that “win” was a bit pyrrhic in that the source of the funds to pay for the full complement of controllers was money taken from the otherwise sacrosanct Airports Trust fund. This aviation” win was a loss for airport development.

These three stories, linked below, have headlines trumpeting the impact of three manufacturers. The Post and Courier reported that the Boeing plant in Charleston paid its 7,500 employees a 6% bonus and that cash infusion would benefit the region’s economy. The TribuneInteractive highlights the benefits of Airbus USA building a headquarters in Alabama. The Director of the state’s Economic Development Association is quoted as saying that the foreign company has invested $600 million there. The Sun Sentinel reporter includes Embraer’s contribution to the Fort Lauderdale business with 270 jobs there at its maintenance, overhaul and repair center there and a total US business investment over $100 million.

Hopefully these local impacts will be made known to the US Congress. The South Carolina, Alabama and Florida delegations need to remember these jobs when they consider major aviation legislation. Fortunately, the recently elected Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Shuster and his Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, Rep. LoBiondo, are already working on the next Reauthorization bill.

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