Aviation leaders presented a united front Tuesday in their resolve to kill a bill that would turn air traffic control services over to a nonprofit corporation. At the annual media breakfast at the NBAA-BACE convention being held in Las Vegas, the leaders of most general aviation groups urged delegates to flood the inboxes of their elected representatives with messages of opposition to the proposal. They were also told the bill currently in play, H.R. 2997, doesn’t have the votes to go through but that shouldn’t stop them from letting their representatives know about their opposition. A video featuring well-known aviation leaders appears below.
The main issue is the makeup of the 13-member board of directors they say is weighted toward airline representation. The fear is that access to and availability of airspace will be prioritized for airlines at the expense of general aviation. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton acknowledged that “fatigue” over the frequent call by he and his colleagues for grass-roots political support is a real factor in this current battle but he also noted the process is simple. NBAA President Ed Bolen said the process he and the others have been through in fighting the bill is an example of why the current system should be preserved. The leaders have had numerous meetings with elected officials to make their case and they’ve been received without reservation. He said if the 13-member board of directors takes over, they will be under no obligation to hear from those affected by their decisions.