Washington, DC, February 14, 2005 – The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the enactment of the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) today at its Annual Industry Review. GARA was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994. By reducing the number of frivolous lawsuits against general aviation manufacturers, GARA allowed a rebirth of the piston-engine airplane industry in the U.S.
“By creating an 18-year statute of repose for general aviation aircraft and components, GARA reinvigorated the industry, creating thousands of jobs and inspiring the development of new products, while making general aviation safer and more reliable than ever,” stated Ron Swanda, GAMA’s Interim President. “Since 1994, manufacturers have invested in advanced technologies for engines, navigation equipment, and avionics which are now standard equipment in piston-engine airplanes.”
“GARA has proven to be a fair and evenhanded law,” said Jeffrey Sural, General Counsel for GAMA. “Given the renewed health of the general aviation industry, while maintaining access to the judicial process and improving product safety, GARA has proven to be a tort reform law that benefits defendants, plaintiffs and society as a whole.”
In 1994 when GARA was signed into law, airplane shipments had declined 95 percent from the previous decade and the industry had lost over 100,000 jobs. Cessna Aircraft Company, the largest general aviation manufacturer in the world, had stopped making piston-engine airplanes. Piper Aircraft Company was in bankruptcy and Beech Aircraft had shut down most of its piston-engine airplane production. Numerous lawsuits, some alleging design flaws in airplanes that had flown safely for more than 50 years, made liability costs unpredictable, driving up current product costs and draining research and development resources for future products.