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On the evening of March 25, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion emergency relief bill providing stimulus funds to a U.S. economy reeling from the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. On March 27, the House is expected to pass the bill, which includes specific measures aimed at general aviation businesses.
The bill provides a massive influx of money into the U.S. economy and provides support to targeted industries in the form of loans, grants, tax relief, and funding for infrastructure. HAI is pleased that the vertical lift industry is included in those measures structured to aid the aviation industry and small businesses.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides $377 billion in emergency aid to small businesses. It offers zero-interest loans to firms with fewer than 500 employees, loans that could be forgiven if firms follow certain conditions. Part 135 operators and part 145 maintenance facilities are eligible for $25 billion in direct loans and loan guarantees, with an additional $25 billion in grants for employee wages, salaries, and benefits.
The legislation provides part 135 operators relief from the 7.5 percent air transportation federal excise tax and suspends the commercial fuel tax until Jan. 1, 2021. The bill also provides airports with $10 billion through Airport Improvement Program funding, and $100 million is allocated to general aviation airports.
“HAI strongly advocated for the vertical lift industry and its needs to Congress, and we appreciate that this bill includes measures specifically aimed at general aviation,” said James A. Viola, HAI president and CEO. “The loans, grants, and tax relief provisions of this bill can directly benefit many of HAI’s members, especially our numerous small businesses.”
A complete analysis of the bill will be available in the HAI members-only Legislative Action Center. HAI will also be following up with its membership as details become available of how to take advantage of the bill’s provisions.