Most folks in the U.S. may be taking holiday time this week, but general aviation advocates are not slowing down in their effort to oppose efforts in Washington to privatize air traffic control. Thirty-four groups signed on to a letter on Monday that says the House bill submitted by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., — the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2017 — would result in “uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes.” The groups, including GAMA, AOPA, EAA, NBAA and others, say that privatization faces “strong bipartisan opposition in both the House and Senate,” and lawmakers should instead focus on creating “the stability and funding” that ATC needs.
The letter advocates for developing a long-term FAA reauthorization plan that would create predictable and stable funding for the FAA, including biennial budgeting, consolidation of unneeded and outdated facilities, and certification reforms, and putting to use some of the balance from the Airways and Airport Trust Fund to expedite technology deployment.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 letter concludes. Congress is in recess this week. The Senate returns to work on Monday, July 10, and the House on Tuesday, July 11. AOPA President Mark Baker called on the aviation community last week to lobby their representatives about the legislation, while they are in their home states over the holiday week.