As our industry looks towards NBAA’s annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) taking place Oct. 16-18 in Orlando, we may also reflect upon a milestone year for business aviation – one that demonstrated the importance of engagement throughout our aviation community on matters affecting us, most notably seen throughout the debate over privatization of ATC services.
Certainly, business aviation operators have reason for optimism. Legislation passed the House earlier this year to reauthorize funding for the FAA, without advancing so-called ATC “privatization”; at this writing, the Senate’s version of the bill is under consideration.
Without question, our industry’s ability to make its collective voice heard on this issue has been key throughout the ATC privatization battle. While NBAA-BACE provides the opportunity for to come together in that shared success, we also know that continued vigilance on this matter is required.
Simply put, ATC privatization is untenable, because it takes aviation system oversight authority out of the hands of our elected officials – who ensure aviation serves all citizens and communities – and places that oversight in the hands of a small, private group. That group could elect to manage the aviation system not in the public interest, but instead with a focus on business interests – threatening access to airports and airspace for the small and mid-size towns that rely on access to general aviation for everything from civil services, to emergency support, to business access and more.
While this matter has been set aside for the moment, it remains clear we must remain ready to mobilize when necessary. I’m confident we will be able to count on NBAA members, and the rest of the general aviation community, to act once again in shaping our shared destiny as we look ahead to future challenges.
When we gather later this year for NBAA-BACE, we will see on vivid display all the innovation and opportunities provided by business aviation today. We likewise understand that when challenges emerge, our vital and engaged business aviation community is equally prepared to respond.