After months of uncertainty in Washington regarding the future of several aviation-related programs, President Obama has signed an appropriations bill for 2012 that provides funding for the FAA and reinstates the Block Aircraft Registry Request (BARR) program, ensuring the privacy of aircraft owners and operators. The signing of the bill serves as temporary relief for the aviation industry until the FAA reauthorization bill is finalized.
Covering several government agencies, H.R. 2112 received bipartisan support and was passed quickly as it included funding appropriations necessary to prevent a government shutdown. The bill is a big win for business aviation as it includes language “to restore the Block Aircraft Registry Request program (BARR) and to prohibit future changes to the program,” according to a summary of House Report 112-284, a segment of H.R. 2112 also termed the “Mini-bus” which contained the aviation specific allocations, released by the House Appropriations Committee.
And to ensure the industry won’t be thrown under the mini bus, so to speak, NBAA’s president and CEO Ed Bolen said, “In the coming year, NBAA will work diligently to ensure the long-term continuation of the BARR program.”
The passing of this appropriations bill also has positive implications for the aviation industry as a whole as it includes specific funding for research into unleaded aviation gasoline alternatives and the addition of 20 FAA certifications programs inspectors, according to Paul Feldman, vice president of government affairs at GAMA.
A total commitment for $12.5 billion was made to fund the FAA in 2012, including $878 million specifically for the continuous modernization of the air transportation system through NextGen.