NBAA Challenges Obama’s Debate Remarks

In open letter, NBAA says president mischaracterizes business aviation.

The National Business Aviation Association slammed Barack Obama's remarks about corporate jets in last week's presidential debate with Mitt Romney, saying the president mischaracterized the role business aviation plays in creating jobs and improving the economy.

In an open letter to Obama, NBAA head Ed Bolen said the remarks show that the president is out of touch with reality.

“Your comments seemed to illustrate a complete lack of understanding about the importance of business aviation in the U.S., and appear to be at odds with your stated interest in promoting job growth, stimulating exports, driving economic recovery and restoring America to its first-place position in manufacturing,” Bolen wrote.

Bolen was referring to Obama’s response to a question from debate moderator Jim Lehrer about tax policy, in which Obama stated: “Why wouldn’t we eliminate tax breaks for corporate jets? My attitude is if you got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight, not get a special break for it.”

Bolen first countered those remarks in a statement issued to news organizations before the Wednesday night debate had concluded, which noted that the business aviation industry is responsible for 1.2 million American jobs, and contributes $150 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

“Mr. President, in your concluding remarks, you were quick to point to the auto workers you’ve met in Detroit’s manufacturing plants, and you celebrated their role in ‘helping to build America,’” Bolen’s letter noted. “Business aviation workers like those in Wichita, Duluth, Savannah, Columbus, Vero Beach and other American towns deserve your support as well. Please consider promoting, rather than disparaging, business aviation – it’s a great American industry.”