For several years, a number of aviation manufacturers have been designing and testing very light jets, a type of small jet aircraft equipped with advanced technologies and priced below other business jets. Aviation forecasters predict that thousands of very light jets will enter the National Airspace System (NAS) over the next two decades, contributing to the overall growth of the general aviation fleet. While some experts predict that very light jets will be used in ways that are similar to current general aviation aircraft, others predict that they will be used to expand the air taxi market to provide on-demand, point-to-point air transportation. In 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified the first very light jets for flight. This report identifies (1) current very light jet forecasts and what factors could affect very light jet deliveries, (2) how increasing numbers of very light jets might affect the capacity and safety of the NAS, (3) how FAA is planning to accommodate the entry of very light jets into the NAS, and (4) how very light jets might affect FAA's costs and Airport and Airway Trust Fund revenues. To address these issues, GAO reviewed relevant documents and interviewed agency officials and aviation experts. GAO is not making recommendations in this report. The Department of Transportation provided technical clarifications, which were incorporated as appropriate.
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