In a joint letter to President Obama, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) expressed deep concern over recent comments by the President questioning the value of corporate aircraft use and proposing tax changes that would negatively impact the entire general aviation industry.
The letter emphasized that while ill-informed criticism of corporate jets and business aviation may appear to some as good politics, the reality is that it hurts one of the leading manufacturing and export industries in the United States. This kind of criticism has also led to the layoff of over 20,000 IAM members.
“Words have consequences and, in this industry, a few misguided words can put at risk even the ever-so-modest recovery we have experienced,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “What this industry and its workforce requires is more time to recover, a chance to book more orders and the opportunity to recall more workers.”
The general aviation industry, which includes Spirit, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier and others, was hit hard by the credit squeeze that followed the financial sector meltdown in 2008. The crisis deepened further when critics slammed private aircraft use as an example of runaway corporate excess.
“The Administration has a laudable goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. How then can President Obama attack a manufacturing sector that exported over 60 percent of the value of its products in 2010? General aviation manufacturers can help the president meet his export goals, but not if this damaging rhetoric continues,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA’s president and CEO.