Pushback On ATC Privatization


NBAA is urging its members to strongly oppose a proposal to separate air traffic control from the FAA through the establishment of a not-for-profit corporation. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Penn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has said he’ll introduce a bill to create the corporation to free the air traffic control system from the vagaries of political influence in its funding. NBAA President Ed Bolen said the proposal runs counter to long-held positions held by his organization about the delivery and funding of air traffic control services. Under Shuster’s plan, the corporation would be funded by a system of user fees, something NBAA and other aviation groups have been fighting for decades. ATC is currently funded through a tax on aviation fuel that the groups say fairly and equitably distributes the burden.

Bolen’s appeal gives members ideas on how to influence their elected representatives on the issue. “The potentially dire consequences from such actions cannot be overstated,” Bolen wrote in his personal appeal to NBAA members. “Without Congress to ensure that our nation’s air traffic system safeguards the aviation needs of the entire public – including the people and companies that rely on general aviation in small and mid-size towns – such sweeping authority would instead be granted to a group of self-interested parties,” Bolen said. “These parties will be left to make decisions about where and when companies using business aviation can fly, how much it will cost to do so, and what type of payment – including user fees – will be demanded of operators.” The U.S. is one of only a handful of mainstream aviation nations with government-run air traffic control.