As readers of Twin & Turbine are aware, for the better part of a year, the nation’s general aviation (GA) community has been locked in battle on Capitol Hill against proponents who favor replacing congressional oversight of our air traffic control (ATC) network with a private board, dominated by commercial airline stakeholders, and funded through new aviation user fees.
In February, such a proposal was introduced as part of H.R. 4441, an FAA reauthorization bill, representing a genuinely risky proposition, not only for our nation’s business aviation community, but also for the citizens and communities of the United States.
Without Congress ensuring that the public’s interest is at the forefront of any decision affecting access to our nation’s airports and airspace, an airline-controlled private board would have ultimate authority to dictate where people would be able to fly, at what time, and – perhaps most disturbingly –
at what cost. The airlines have long-sought such sweeping power over our air traffic system.
Any such authority favoring airline interests would directly impact areas of the country that currently depend upon the flexibility of business aviation for such critical tasks as opening new production facilities, developing new utilities infrastructure, and transporting doctors directly to small communities in need of medical assistance.
Fortunately, our industry has mobilized in the weeks since the Feb. 3 introduction of H.R. 4441 in a singular and powerful voice against this threat.
As you’ll see in the accompanying article, numerous business aviation groups around the country have responded to NBAA’s “Call to Action” on this issue, and have already contacted their elected representatives to encourage them to oppose the privatization of ATC.
These efforts have had a direct, meaningful impact on the debate over this legislation. But, despite the progress we’ve made, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. As I write this, the House is still working to find a path to the floor for consideration of H.R. 4441, and the Senate is expected to introduce its own FAA reauthorization measure soon.
At NBAA, we want the United States to continue to be the world leader in all aspects of aviation for decades to come. We believe the airlines’ risky proposal is unlikely to make our system better, and would certainly leave smaller businesses, consumers and communities in a worse situation – not a better one.
I’m certain that you will agree that’s a cause worth fighting for, and we cannot pause in this battle. I implore the Twin & Turbine readership to join with NBAA’s more than 10,000 Members to make your voices heard, as well, against the fatally flawed concept of handing control of our nation’s airspace to the airlines.