Bolen Tells Congress: Business Aviation Remains Committed to Modernization

Washington, DC, October 28, 2009 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen told members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation today that despite the sharp economic downturn that has roiled the industry, general aviation (GA) remains steadfast in its support of modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system.

Bolen, who also serves as chairman of the RTCA, an organization that provides consensus-based aviation policy guidance, testified in support of the recommendations included in a recent report from RTCA’s NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Task Force, and commended House lawmakers for their vigorous efforts to improve the nation’s aviation system.

“We commend the Subcommittee for conducting a thorough examination of all of the issues related to system modernization,” noting that NBAA Members have likewise long been committed to system transformation.

“Business aviation was among the early adopters of GPS navigation systems,” he said. “We helped initiate the ADS-B test program in Alaska – a test program that is now the cornerstone technology of the modernization effort. We also participated in the ADS-B experiments at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. In 2005, we supported our nation’s transition to Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM) which effectively doubled our enroute airspace capacity.

NBAA Members remain supportive of these and other efficiency investments, Bolen noted, even at a time when “the people and businesses in general aviation, like other industries, are weathering one of the worst economic storms anyone has ever seen.”

In the past year, Bolen testified, business aviation flying had decreased by as much as 35 percent, the inventory of used airplanes available for sale had reached an all-time high, prices for business airplanes had declined by 40 percent, and employment at leading general aviation companies had fallen by as much as 50 percent.

“While much has changed for the industry I represent as a result of the recession, one thing has remained constant – our continued support for modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system.”

Bolen pointed out that the recommendations made by the RTCA would help accelerate the transition to a Next Generation, or “NextGen” aviation system by streamlining the operations approval process and establishing effective government-industry collaboration.

“Following the RTCA’s recommendations will advance important national objectives,” Bolen said, including further reducing the industry’s environmental footprint, reducing long-term costs for the Federal Aviation Administration, enhancing safety, expanding system capacity, and providing other benefits.”

Bolen concluded: “We are committed to working with the Congress to expedite the transformation of our air traffic control technology and operations that achieves our shared goal of keeping the U.S. aviation system the safest, largest and most efficient in the world,” he said.

To view Ed Bolen’s complete testimony, visit: www.nbaa.org/testimony/20091028.

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