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Fri, Mar 19, 2010

GAMA Supports Public-Private Partnership To Speed NextGen Upgrades

Praised Administration For Funding Alternative Fuel Research

GAMA testified Thursday in support of the Administration's fiscal year 2011 budget request for the FAA before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. GAMA's President and CEO Pete Bunce focused on several items within the budget proposal most important to the general aviation manufacturing industry. These include air traffic modernization and equipage, increased funding for FAA certification and inspection personnel, and funding for FAA research into an alternative, unleaded aviation gasoline for piston-engine planes.
GAMA noted that the Administration's budget request provides $1.14 billion in support of NextGen programs, a thirty percent increase over the FY 2010 enacted level. "We believe that this increase demonstrates the FAA's commitment to move forward on NextGen and implement technology quickly in order to realize the safety, capacity, economic and environmental benefits as soon as possible," said Bunce. "The aviation industry stands ready to work in a public-private partnership to accelerate NextGen through aircraft equipage so that all stakeholders begin to accrue the benefits. Additionally, the equipping of airplanes will not only move modernization forward, but it will provide more Americans with the opportunity for good jobs in our nation's avionics companies and maintenance facilities. As an industry that has lost nearly 20,000 manufacturing jobs throughout the last year and a half, we want to put people back to work."

Bunce (pictured) also commented on proposed funds for an additional 82 FAA safety inspectors, which includes 41 engineering personnel. "GAMA has long been a champion of increased funding for the FAA's Aircraft Certification Office because of its role in certifying new products and equipment. Not only will adding additional staff prevent certification delays, but it will also help ensure that the FAA will have the resources necessary to certify new technologies that are essential to NextGen. Any delay in certifying NextGen technology could cause a delay in realizing safety and efficiency benefits," said Bunce.
Finally, GAMA is encouraged that the Administration's fiscal year 2011 budget proposal adds $2 million within the FAA's research and development account to support development of an alternative unleaded aviation gasoline. GAMA and other industry stakeholders are actively involved in developing a plan to transition to a new, unleaded avgas for piston-engine aircraft. Bunce added, "Unfortunately, no safe, simple alternative exists for leaded aviation gasoline. The president's budget request will allow the FAA to partner with both the general aviation industry and fuel producers to research, test and ultimately approve a safe and environmentally friendly unleaded aviation gasoline."



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