Jet-A Tax on BizAv?

The recent budget proposal from the White House includes a number of positive points—but one stands to kneecap the aviation industry just as it starts to leave the chocks on sustainability.

That’s the proposed 4X increase (from 22 cents to $1.06/gallon over 5 years) in the fuel tax on Jet-A for bizav operators, a line item that surely resonates with the green set, but bodes poorly for the ability to grow capability, capacity, and jobs under the sustainable aviation umbrella. The quest to net-zero by 2050 absolutely depends on it.

Here are my quick takes:

  1. The healthy flow of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into the market relies upon the demand for Jet-A. While commercial aviation represents the bulk of the volume, business aviation has the flexibility and higher margins to accommodate the experimentation required to bring new sources of zero-emission fuel into play. 
  2. The infrastructure investments required to deliver SAF lean on the ability of local FBOs and governments—and distributors—to justify the cost to equip. With lower flowage into these wide-spread locations, the business case grows even more difficult than it already is in some places.
  3. Bringing aircraft production into the U.S.—and keeping what we have—is central to providing skilled labor with well-paying, satisfying work. Keeping sales and delivery volumes to what they reached in the bizav sector before and after the pandemic is vital to offering these desirable positions.
  4. And, at a time when aircraft OEMs fight hard to secure the workforce they need, the ability to appeal to the younger generation with sustainable aviation projects is critical to attracting the brightest minds to our industry. They want to be part of the solution. Raising the tax on one sector that provides some of the coolest jobs in aviation—across the board from engineers to marketers—is at best shortsighted and at worst a true crux for the industry.