GA takes united stand against ATC privatization
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) joined more than 30 general aviation (GA) groups in signing a letter to the US Congress opposing House legislation for privatizing the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
The letter follows approval by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee earlier this week for H.R.2997, a bill designed to reauthorize funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which contains language for privatizing ATC.
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In the letter, the GA groups conclude that the plan to privatize ATC “will produce uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes.”
The GA groups’ letter goes on to emphasize: “With strong bipartisan opposition in both the House and Senate to remove air traffic control operations from the FAA, we believe efforts should focus on developing a long-term FAA reauthorization that creates the stability and funding necessary and that can reach the president’s desk for signature.”
The letter from the organizations also highlights the essential role of general aviation in America’s economy and transportation system, noting that it is “an important American industry that generates over $219 billion in total economic output, supports 1.1 million jobs, and includes a network of thousands of airports and heliports that connect many rural communities to the rest of the world.”
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The groups conclude the letter by proposing several targeted reforms as part of FAA reauthorization. “We are committed to addressing needed reforms that create predictable and stable funding for the FAA including biennial budgeting, consolidating unneeded and outdated facilities, procurement and certification reforms, and putting to use some of the balance from the Airways and Airport Trust Fund to expedite technology deployment,” the letter states. “We are ready and willing to work with all industry stakeholders and Congress to advance the consensus needed to improve our current system and to ensure that our nation’s air traffic control system remains the envy of the world.”
Since the June 21 introduction of H.R.2997, NBAA has mobilized its members in opposition to the legislation. On June 23, NBAA President & CEO Ed Bolen issued a Call to Action, urging association members to contact their congressional lawmakers, stating that, “The citizens, companies and communities relying on general aviation for business, civil services and other needs will be the ones most at risk if this legislation becomes law.” NBAA members are urged to use the association’s online Contact Congress resource to oppose the bill.