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General Aviation Groups Urge DOT to Reopen Aircraft Registry for Essential Functions

GAMA NEWS 18-5 For Immediate Release: Jan 21, 2018




GAMA Director of Communications:
Sarah McCann

Released: January/21/2018

General Aviation
Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

General Aviation Groups Urge DOT to Reopen Aircraft Registry for Essential Functions

Washington, DC – In a letter to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine Chao, six general aviation (GA) leaders today called for reopening the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) United States Aircraft Registry. Despite the current government shutdown, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and fellow GA groups argued that the U.S. Registry performs essential functions for safety, security and fulfilling international aviation treaties.

“We respectfully submit that DOT has authority under the Anti-Deficiency Act to staff the U.S. Registry,” the letter reads, “as it is vital to protection of human life and property, and necessary for the U.S. to fulfill its ongoing international legal obligations.”

Even during a government shutdown, certain essential functions are exempted from closure. The letter cites several national security, law enforcement and aviation safety functions that rely on the U.S. Registry, as well as treaties related to the registration of aircraft.

The closure of the U.S. Registry also precludes the delivery of aircraft, as the GA groups make clear. General aviation aircraft and parts cannot be purchased, sold, financed or maintained without the written approval of the FAA personnel who staff the registry. According to the FAA, 10,000 aircraft registrations expire each month.

“The U.S. Registry’s closure had a profound impact on our manufacturers and workforce during the 2013 government shutdown,” the GA leaders write, “as it disrupted hundreds of aircraft transactions valued at over $1.9 billion.”

Citing the legal framework for the FAA to meet its vital and binding obligations, the GA leaders argue the registry performs several essential functions, including:

  • Safety: FAA officials have said that out-of-date registration information (including safety-related information) could possibly result in loss of property or personal injury.
  • Security: As FAA officials have also said, “various levels of law enforcement have used and continue to use registration data for drug and other law enforcement purposes.” Additionally, those efforts, “now have expanded to include matters of homeland security.”
  • International Treaties: The U.S. Registry is obligated, under international aviation treaties, to provide other nations with aircraft ownership information, when requested. These agreements include the Chicago Convention and the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment (“Cape Town Convention”).

Underlining these essential functions, and the enormous economic consequences, the GA leaders conclude the letter by urging Secretary Chao, in the strongest possible terms, to immediately reopen the aircraft registry.

Signing the letter are: Pete Bunce, president and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Mark Baker, president and CEO, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Ed Bolen, president and CEO, NBAA; Martin Hiller, president, National Air Transportation Association; Jack Pelton, chairman and CEO, Experimental Aircraft Association; and Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO, Helicopter Association International.

Read the GA leaders’ letter in its entirety.

For additional information, please contact Sarah McCann, GAMA Director of Communications, at +1 (202) 637-1375 or

GAMA is an international trade association representing over 100 of the world’s leading manufacturers of general aviation airplanes and rotorcraft, engines, avionics, components and related services. GAMA’s members also operate repair stations, fixed based operations, pilot and maintenance training facilities and manage fleets of aircraft. For more information, visit GAMA’s website at

Communications Director:
Andre Castro:
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Headquarters: (+1) 202-393-1500
European Office: (+32) 2 550-3900

GAMA exists to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests, and activities of the global business and general aviation industry. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul and the important role these industry segments play in economic growth and opportunity, and in serving the critical transportation needs of communities, companies, and individuals worldwide.