Payroll relief begins for GA air carriers

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The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomed news that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has begun making payments to many of the small and mid-sized general aviation air-carriers, including FAR Part 135 charter operators struggling with the unprecedented financial challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Apr 20th, treasury made the first payroll support programme payments to approved applicants, among them many Part 135 charter operators. All funds provided under the programme can be used only for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits. The programme was launched following implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27th.

NBAA has strongly advocated for general aviation air carriers as Treasury implemented the payroll support programme. In a Mar. 31 letter, the association explained to Treasury that initial guidance on the payroll support programme presented challenges for general aviation businesses, as specific requirements were structured for the major scheduled airlines. On April 10th, the department issued guidance responding directly to the association’s concerns, and providing essential flexibility for general aviation air carriers seeking payroll support.

As the COVID-19 virus has spread, charter operators across the country are reporting sharp drop-offs in flight requests and activity, in some cases by more than 75% over the same period last year. These operators are a critical part of the nation’s air transportation system- providing air medical transportation and delivering critical supplies and personnel across the country.

“We are very pleased to see that payments are beginning to be made to the charter companies employing thousands of people contending with the circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “Our thanks once again to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Transportation Secretary Chao for hearing and responding to this pressing concern.”

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