No Recess For ATC Lobbying Effort
Members of Congress are back in their home districts this month, leaving Washington quiet and empty, but that doesn’t mean the efforts of general aviation lobbyists who oppose ATC privatization are on hold. “The GA community can’t let its guard down,” said Mark Baker, president of AOPA, in a statement issued last week by several GA advocacy groups. “This is a battle that has just begun.” Baker and other GA leaders said the August recess provides an opportunity for pilots to contact their representatives while they’re at home and let them know how they feel about efforts to privatize the air traffic control system. “Our industry is under attack, and the proposal the airlines are pushing would destroy our industry,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen.
The proposed private corporation that would run ATC would be dominated by the airlines, the advocates say, and GA needs would be secondary. As a result, the corporation could make ATC less effective for GA users, by restricting GA pilots’ access to airports, closing towers or reducing their hours of operation, and creating procedures that favor commercial airline traffic. GA leaders urged aviators to visit www.atcnotforsale.com to find resources about the privatization issue, plus tools for contacting members of Congress via email, social media and phone. The site also features news updates and other resources for advocates. The groups that are working together to oppose privatization are AOPA, EAA, GAMA, Helicopter Association International, National Air Transportation Association and NBAA.