“EAA strongly opposed ATC privatization then, and we strongly oppose it now.”
– EAA CEO and Chairman, Jack J. Pelton
On Thursday, March 16, an endorsement for the privatization of air traffic control was included in a budget proposal released by the Trump Administration; a move that the EAA believes would put the future of general aviation and its long-term access to the National Airspace System at risk.
Shortly after, EAA CEO and Chairman Jack J. Pelton released a statement in strong opposition to the proposal, which is similar to the ATC privatization proposal introduced last year in Congress.
“EAA strongly opposed ATC privatization then, and we strongly oppose it now,” said Pelton. “Removing ATC from FAA control and oversight would pose a significant risk to general aviation’s long-term access to the National Airspace System (NAS).
“Under such a system, ATC would be overseen and managed by a board made up of commercial interests, with the nation’s airlines having the most powerful and numerous voices,” Pelton continued. “These interests would inevitably drown out whatever token representation and economic impact GA would have on such a board, creating an ATC system that would serve commercial interests with the greatest financial resources.”
To read Pelton’s statement in its entirety, visit: http://bit.ly/EEA_on_ATC
This is a critical issue for the survival of general aviation. With the powerful voices of the airlines pushing to lower the price tag of their access to the nation’s airspace, much of the funding for a privatized system would be reliant on general aviation users.
Transfer of ATC oversight from the FAA to a private corporation would also likely impact funding for infrastructure improvements at rural airports, such as towers and instrument landing facilities, with financial resources instead being directed to the urban centers serviced frequently by airlines.
EAA is already deeply involved in conversations on Capitol Hill to ensure ATC continues to serve general aviation equally in the national airspace system. We are looking to the GA community to stay engaged on this issue as we work to provide next steps toward defeating privatization.
GA groups requesting sufficient time to review and debate bill
With the need to authorize the Federal Aviation Administration before September 30 of this year, a host of general aviation association leaders that includes the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) joined together to send letters to House and Senate transportation leaders underscoring “real and long-standing concerns” regarding a concept being pushed by some big airlines regarding air traffic control.
Specifically, the organizations cited concerns over a proposal promoted by some big airlines for the creation of “a new governance and funding model for our nation’s aviation system, based on systems in other parts of the world.
“The general aviation community has very real and long-standing concerns, which include but are not limited to user fees,” the letter states. “These concerns are based on our operating experiences in these foreign systems and the impact they have had on general aviation.”
Along with EAA, the letters were signed by the Air Care Alliance, Aircraft Electronics Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Citation Jet Pilots, Commemorative Air Force, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, International Council of Air Shows, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, National Air Transportation Association, National Business Aviation Association, Recreational Aviation Foundation, U.S. Parachute Association and Veterans Airlift.
The letters were sent to House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), T&I Aviation Subcommittee Chair Frank LoBiondo (R-New Jersey) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-Washington), as well as Senate Commerce Committee Chair John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida), and Aviation Subcommittee Chair Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington).
These letters support the concerns expressed last week by EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton, responding to news that the White House included an endorsement of privatizing air traffic control services in its budget proposal.
“Under such a system, ATC would be overseen and managed by a board made up of commercial interests, with the nation’s airlines having the most powerful and numerous voices,” Pelton said last week. “These interests would inevitably drown out whatever token representation and economic impact GA would have on such a board, creating an ATC system that would serve commercial interests with the greatest financial resources.”
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