by Dave Weiman
Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2018 issue
Pilots, aircraft owners, corporate flight departments, aircraft manufacturers and fixed base operators who are members of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), or the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) can be proud of their leadership for opposing the Trump Administration and some members of Congress who want to privatize the air traffic control system in the United States, and put the airlines in charge.
On June 21, 2018, general aviation associations issued a statement strongly opposing the Trump Administration for including in its government reorganization proposal a failed idea to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) air traffic control services.
“There is a large and diverse chorus of opposition to the idea of privatizing our air traffic control system, including congressional leaders from both political parties, more than 100 aviation organizations, over 100 business leaders, 100 U.S. mayors, consumer and agricultural groups, conservative think tanks, and the majority of Americans. Additionally, this concept has been fully considered in the U.S. Congress and rejected despite years of repeated attempts,” was the joint statement issued by the top six aviation organizations.
“Instead of focusing precious time and resources on what amounts to nothing more than a distraction to the aviation community, the Administration needs to support a long-term FAA bill, like those passed by the House of Representatives and now pending in the Senate. These bills will take practical and significant steps to address many critical issues like aviation safety and modernization, which includes accelerated advancement of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and needed aircraft certification and regulatory reform. Additionally, the Department of Transportation needs to continue with its commitment to the
NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC), which fosters collaboration in an open and transparent manner and helps advance air traffic control modernization priorities and investments.
“We are disappointed that the Administration continues to reintroduce a failed proposal. Instead, it should put its weight behind FAA legislation pending in Congress that will advance the aviation industry, including general aviation, which contributes $219 billion to the U.S. economy and creates over one million jobs in the U.S.”
The Trump Administration and some members of Congress appear to be listening only to lobbyists from the airline industry, which could seize control of the air traffic control system with total disregard to general aviation. The Administration seems to think that privatizing all public services is better than government-ran services, regardless of the type of service provided, the costs and inefficiencies that can result, and the potential for preferential treatment.
If you feel you have already taken a back seat to the airlines, especially near commercially-served airports, you haven’t seen nothing yet. If the airlines get their way and control the air traffic control system, general aviation could end up in the baggage compartment, then later lost in space.
Our associations, through your support, will continue to encourage the Administration to rethink its position and refocus its attention on making the best air traffic control system in the world even better!