General Aviation Groups Remain United Opposing ATC Privatization

Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2017 issue

WASHINGTON, DC –Thirty-three general aviation groups have issued the following joint statement in opposition to the air traffic control privatization proposal included in the 21st Century Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act:

General Aviation 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.

After a thorough and detailed review of Chairman Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) proposal, H.R. 2997, the AIRR Act of 2017, which would remove our nation’s air traffic control operations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we have concluded that these reforms will produce uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes.

While we enjoy the safest most efficient air traffic control system in the world, we also believe that reforms, short of privatization, can better address the FAA’s need to improve its ability to modernize our system. We have concluded that any structural and governance reforms that require protections for an important sector of users is fundamentally flawed. In addition, the billions of dollars and time that would be spent transitioning our nation’s air traffic control system to a not-for-profit entity can be better applied to the continuing progress to update and modernize our air traffic control system – including meeting the FAA’s mandate to equip the general aviation fleet with see-and-avoid (ADS-B) technology by 2020.

Moreover, 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. 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reforms that create predictable and stable funding for the FAA including biennial budgeting, consolidating unneeded and outdated facilities, procurement, and certification reforms, and putting to use some of the balance from the Airways and Airport Trust Fund to expedite technology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. 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.

The 33 general aviation groups that are united against ATC privatization include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, National Business Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Air Transportation Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, ABS Air Safety Foundation, Air Care Alliance, Alaska Airmen Association, Association of Air Medical Services, California Pilots Association, Cardinal Flyers Association, Cessna Flyer Association, Cessna Pilots Association, Cessna Pilots Society, Citation Jet Pilot Association, Classic Jet Aircraft Association, Commemorative Air Force, Flight School Association of North America, Glasair Aircraft Owners Association, Helicopter Association International, Kansas Pilots, Kentucky Aviation Association, Lancair Owners and Builders Organization, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, Minnesota Pilots Association, Mooney Summit, Piper Flyer Association, Recreational Aviation Foundation, Soaring Society of America, South Dakota Pilots Association, Tennessee Aviation Association, Veterans Airlift Command, and the Washington Pilots Association.

Obviously given more time to organize opposition, literally a thousand or more local and state aviation organizations would have signed on, so even though your organization is not listed, the time to act is now in contacting your elected officials in Washington and opposing ATC privatization.

AOPA is providing the following link so that both AOPA members and non-members – individually and as groups – can contact their elected officials in Washington:

https://app3.vocusgr.com/WebPublish/Controller.aspx?SiteName=AOPA&Definition=ContactLegislators&IssueID=9550 and voice opposition to H.R. 2997.

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