Congress' Business Jet Ban May Go Too Far

Business Jet Traveler » February 2007
Thursday, February 1, 2007 - 4:00am

Some members of Congress believe a measure being promoted by the Democratic Party leadership not only would prohibit representatives from using official or campaign funds to pay for use of private airplanes but would also prohibit those who are private pilots from flying their own airplanes.

The proposed ban is part of a series of measures adopted by the House that would prohibit representatives from accepting meals, entertainment and trips from lobbyists. As written, however, the rule "would prohibit members from using their personal funds for travel on their own aircraft for any purpose whatsoever, whether official or personal," said Rep. Darrel Issel (R-Calif.).

Issel also said the proposal would prohibit members of Congress from flying aboard "a nongovernment airplane that is not licensed by the FAA to operate for compensation or hire." He pointed out that the FAA licenses operators and carriers, not aircraft. Thus the rule would technically prohibit the members from flying on any airplane not owned by the government.

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“When you get into the larger aircraft it becomes like a hotel, with dozens of staff supporting the plane based in a galley area down below. You have very comprehensive cooking facilities, and on larger aircraft we have looked at theatres, with spiral staircases and a Steinway grand piano. The limitations for what you can put inside a plane are pretty much the limits of physics, and even money cannot always overcome that. Even so, people are still always trying to push [the limits]. ”

-Howard Guy of Design Q, a UK-based consultancy