Melbourne, Florida


Email Jerry H. Trachtman
Jerry H. Trachtman
Jerry H. Trachtman
Attorney • (321) 723-8281

Does President Obama Understand General Aviation?

Comments Off

President Obama's recent remarks regarding general aviation seem to reflect a lack of understanding of the importance of general aviation to the economy. Even more troubling is the seeming contradiction in the President's stated position on general aviation, depending on the audience he is addressing. For example, during the first debate with Governor Romney, President Obama stated:

“Why wouldn't we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.”

But in an interview with the Aircraft Owner's and Pilot's Association published in the October issue of the Association's magazine, President Obama was asked:

What is your experience with general aviation? How have you personally and professionally used general aviation? Are you aware of the economic benefit of GA to the nation and if so, to what extent?

His response:

In today’s global economy, infrastructure is critical to economic growth and competitiveness. The strength of our general aviation industry is a critical piece of this, providing an invaluable service to our communities and economy. I have benefitted from general aviation for years, and will continue to do so once leaving office. The services provided keep families and loved ones close, allow businesses to grow and prosper, and create jobs that fuel our economy. I will continue to support the industry and the service that it provides.

Ed Bolen, President and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, summed it up best in his letter to President Obama:


October 4, 2012

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

On behalf of the more than one million people employed in business aviation, I’m writing to convey my frustration at your disparaging remarks about the industry during last night’s debate. Your comments seemed to discount and ignore the importance of business aviation in the U.S., and appear to be at odds with your stated interest in promoting job growth, stimulating exports, driving economic recovery and restoring America to its first-place position in manufacturing.

Mr. President, in your concluding remarks, you were quick to point to the auto workers you’ve met in Detroit’s manufacturing plants, and you celebrated their role in “helping to build America.” Business aviation workers like those in Wichita, Duluth, Savannah, Columbus, Vero Beach and other American towns deserve your support as well. In fact, America leads the world in business aircraft manufacturing, which supports countless highly skilled jobs, and is one of the few remaining industries that contributes positively to the nation’s balance of trade. It’s disappointing to know that you’ve chosen to vilify this essential American workforce instead of doing all you can to promote its growth as part of your overall goal of supporting a resurgence of manufacturing in the U.S.

Of course, your negative remarks about business aviation aren’t limited only to the jobs involved in building aircraft, as important as those are. The fact is, business airplanes are mostly used by small and mid-sized companies, which are very often based in places like Moline, IL and Greenwood, MS, where airline service is minimal or non-existent. Having an airplane means the company – and the jobs that come with it – can stay in those small towns.

Mr. President, I know you’ve heard from more than 100 mayors from across the country, who have talked about the importance of business aviation to their economic plans, to the overall health of the nation’s economy and transportation system and to American competitiveness. Please consider promoting, rather than disparaging, business aviation – it’s a great American industry.


Ed Bolen

President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association