NBAA opposes Trump's ATC privatization plans
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today stated the organization’s strong opposition to the Trump administration’s budget proposal, which appears to endorse an air traffic control (ATC) giveaway to the big airlines.
Bolen noted that legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives containing a similar proposal has been met with objections from a large, diverse and growing chorus of opposition, which has rejected the plan on multiple grounds, including the harmful impact it would have on communities across America that rely on general aviation for essential transportation.
Under the highly controversial plan supported by the president, congressional oversight of the nation’s aviation system would be transferred to a private board, effectively dominated by the airlines and unaccountable to Congress. The concept has been championed by the airlines as Congress has been debating reauthorization of funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“NBAA has always supported investments in aviation, including some of those in the president’s budget,” Bolen said. “But, it’s no surprise that the idea of handing over the nation’s ATC system to what amounts to an airline cartel has raised concern or opposition from lawmakers in both parties, more than 200 aviation organizations, more than 100 pilot-business leaders, more than 100 mayors in every state, consumer groups, airport groups, think tanks on the political left and right, rural organizations and a majority of American citizens. It’s bad policy, which would have a devastating impact on small communities and rural areas, which could see their access to airports and airspace threatened.
“Privatization would especially hurt the general aviation industry, which supports more than a million jobs and generates $200 billion a year in economic activity,” Bolen added. Countless communities rely on general av iation for business connectivity, humanitarian flights, a host of civil services and other needs.
“NBAA will continue to support effective investments to upgrade infrastructure,” Bolen said. “But we urge the president to abandon this airline-handover proposal, and support policies that ensure access to vital aviation services for all citizens and communities.”
The budget proposal released by the president today is the administration’s blueprint for federal spending in the coming fiscal year. Congress still must take action to reflect its direction on the budget, including the reauthorization and funding of FAA, and other matters related to the nation’s infrastructure.
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