Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Minnesota general aviation industry is fueled by 4.2–billion dollars annually, and the latest round of rare, bi–partisan legislation in the House and Senate is aiming to keep it that way.
U.S. lawmakers say the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 2013 is closer than ever to becoming a reality, and the move would not only benefit Cirrus Aircraft, but the entire region.
The excitement at Cirrus Aircraft Company in Duluth was palpable Tuesday as Minnesota Eighth District Congressman Rick Nolan and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar made joint announcements that the General Aviation Revitalization act of 2013 had cleared more hurdles with bi–partisan support.
Currently, the legislation has passed the Commerce Committee with unanimous support, and is now heading to the House floor.
Senator Klobuchar says she has no reason to believe it won't pass when it lands on the Senate floor, "where we hope to hotline it, which is a Government term for getting things done unanimously," added the Democratic Senator.
The legislation aims to modernize the Federal Aviation Administration's time–consuming certification process by pairing the FAA with the industry itself in an effort to keep it in sync with the latest technological advancements.
This, says Senator Klobuchar, would keep companies like Cirrus in competitive league with the global aviation industry, and economy.
"If it takes too long to get regulatory approvals at the FAA for safety improvements, then it is hard for Cirrus to compete," said Sen. Klobuchar.
"It's important because it allows for expansion, it allows for expediency to get product to the market, and it allows for us to be competitive on a national stage," said Mike Lundstrom, Chair of the Northern Aero Alliance.
"[It will make] it more possible for the great innovators at Cirrus to move forward with these creative, safe, better ways of supplying small aircraft; both here in the United States and around the world," said Congressman Nolan during his speech.
Duluth Mayor Don Ness says it's not only a win for the city, but the surrounding rural region.
"If you're operating a business in a small town that may not have commercial services coming nearby, you rely on general aviation to get from point A to point B," said Mayor Ness.
...all part of the effort to keep Duluth, and the region, at the center of the general aviation global boom.
Cirrus alone employs over 600 people; a number which company spokespeople and both U.S. lawmakers say would hopefully grow with the passing of the legislation.