Aviation Investment Sought by New York Industry Leaders

ALBANY, NY (03/20/2014)(readMedia)-- Aviation industry leaders from around New York State traveled to Albany recently to discuss the importance of a strong aviation industry to the economic future of the state. Members of the New York Aviation Management Association (NYAMA), the Voice of Aviation in New York since 1976, met with legislators to promote state investment in airports and pro-aviation policies.

"NYAMA's Advocacy Day was a huge success," said Ann B. Crook, President of NYAMA and Director of Aviation for Elmira Corning Regional Airport. "NYAMA members met with over 70 legislators and staff at a crucial time during budget negotiations and we made substantial progress on our priority issues aimed at growing the aviation industry and creating jobs in New York," Ms. Crook reported.

Ms. Crook was referring to the continuation of the State AIR 99 airport capital program at a funding level of $10 million in both the Senate and Assembly budgets and the inclusion of the Aviation Jobs Act in the Senate Budget bill.

The aviation industry is an important economic driver in New York State, contributing over $50 billion in economic activity, $18 billion in payroll and $4.5 billion in state and local tax revenue. Aviation provides over 400,000 jobs-nearly 5% of the total state workforce. To harness the full potential of this critical industry, NYAMA is seeking to enlist lawmakers to commit to an annual recurring investment in airports and reforming aviation tax policy to restore New York's competitiveness with other states.

Ms. Crook said that progress was being made to enact the bipartisan-backed Aviation Jobs Act, a bill to align NY State aviation tax policy with that of surrounding states.

"We commend the Senate for including the Aviation Jobs Act in their one-house budget and we are urging the Assembly-where the bill is sponsored by 48 Assembly members from both parties-and Governor Cuomo to support this initiative as budget negotiations continue," Ms. Crook stated.

Since 2002, New York has lost nearly 700 based aircraft due in large part to more favorable tax treatment and aggressive marketing and airport-development strategies undertaken by other states in the Northeast. NYAMA successfully advocated for elimination of sales and use taxes on maintenance and repair of private aircraft, resulting in the establishment of 32 new FAA-certified aviation businesses and 686 aviation-related jobs for New York since its enactment several years ago.

According to a State Department of Transportation study, attracting more business aircraft to airports would play a key role in increasing airport revenues and generating jobs. The study further finds that, on average, each business jet contributes five on-airport jobs and $1 million in annual economic activity.

"The State's elected officials and economic development policymakers have a strong appreciation for the aviation industry's contribution to New York's economy," Ms. Crook said. "They appear very interested in NYAMA's proposals aimed at investing in airports and removing destructive tax penalties to aviation businesses in order to unlock the massive potential of this sector of the State's economy. We will continue to work together on these initiatives and urge that they be included in the final 2014-2015 State Budget."

The New York Aviation Management Association has 13,000 members and affiliate members and represents over 120 commercial service and general aviation airports, fixed based operators, consultants, engineers and other aviation industries and professionals who believe that serious economic development efforts at the state and regional levels necessitate strong public investment in New York's aviation assets and facilities.