While major airlines have already received Payroll Support Program (PSP) commitments, private aviation operators are still waiting
The National Business Aviation Association has joined the Helicopter Association International, National Air Carrier Association, National Air Transportation Association, and the Regional Airline Association, urging U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to expedite assistance for commercial general aviation and regional air carrier operators.
The joint letter to Yellen comes at a time that Argus TRAQPak predicts business aviation flying won’t return to pre-COVID-levels until at least the second half of 2021.
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Under the second phase of the Payroll Support Program (PSP2) Congress passed in December 2020 business aviation companies that have applied for the loans have yet to see any money. The new bill provides up to an additional $15 billion in relief funding to assist air carriers and contractors.
The letter noted disbursement to smaller operators has been delayed even as large commercial airlines have started to receive their funding. Applications from general aviation and regional airline operators aren’t being processed with the same degree of urgency, according to a post on the NBAA website.
“With every day that passes without certainty on the status of the financial assistance, businesses are seeing their situations worsen to the detriment of their workforce,” the associations wrote. “Our members serve small and mid-sized communities with many of them too small to support profitable air service by larger airlines. General aviation aircraft also serve our nation’s more than 5,000 public-use airports, conduct air medical flights, transport doctors and PPE, and are a critical part of the network to deliver organs for transplant.”
Private jet companies lack access to outside investment capital
Unlike large commercial airlines, few private jet operators are publicly traded and typically do not have access to significant outside investment capital to help weather ongoing crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, NBAA noted.
Of the 10 largest, only one – NetJets – a unit of Berkshire Hathaway – is part of a publicly traded company. NetJets didn’t apply for payroll support during the initial CARES act.
The letter to Yellen continued “Furthermore, small carriers who do not file reports with the Department of Transportation pursuant to Part 241 received underfunded payroll support awards under the CARES Act relative to larger air carriers due to inequitable criteria applied to their award calculation…The PSP extension provided some remedy for this unfair treatment through gross plus-up payments in addition to helping them maintain their workforce through March 31.”
Read the full letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen here.