More than 100 general aviation organizations have united in opposition to H.R. 2997, legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to privatize the nation’s ATC system.
The controversial proposal was introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) as part of a continuing congressional debate over reauthorization of the FAA, before current funding for the agency expires Sept. 30.
The committee approved the legislation largely along party lines on June 27.“After a thorough and detailed review of Chairman Shuster’s proposal, H.R. 2997, the AIRR Act of 2017, which would remove our nation’s air traffic control operations from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we have concluded that these reforms will produce uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes,” the groups’ letter reads.
In the letter, the GA advocacy groups also draw a clear distinction between the need to continue aviation system modernization, and the claim that ATC privatization is a necessary step in that process.
“While we enjoy the safest, most efficient air traffic control system in the world, we also believe that reforms, short of privatization, can better the FAA’s need to improve its ability to modernize our system,” the letter continues.
The groups further dispute so-called “protections” in the bill that privatization supporters claim resolve concerns over a private entity’s ability to restrict general aviation access to airports and airspace.
“We have concluded that any structural and governance reforms that require protections for an important sector of users is fundamentally flawed,” the letter pointedly states.
“This coalition, representing the size, significance and diversity of the general aviation community, is the largest to galvanize around any single policy proposal to date,” noted National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen. “The group is sending a loud and clear signal of opposition to ATC privatization that echoes the same position held by other groups on the political left and right, elected officials at the federal and local levels, and a majority of American citizens.”
With H.R. 2997 expected to be considered by the full House before the end of the month, NBAA and other GA groups are mobilizing their members, issuing Calls to Action to urge all to notify their lawmakers to voice opposition to the bill.
GA pilots and enthusiasts can use NBAA’s Contact Congress resource to oppose the bill that Bolen has termed “the single greatest threat to the future of general aviation we have faced.”https://www.nbaa.org/advocacy/contact/
NBAA’s Contact Congress resource also provides a means for social media users to alert their lawmakers to the industry’s opposition to the bill.
NBAA also has introduced a toll-free line – 855-265-9002 – to connect association members with their elected representatives, with a brief list of suggested talking points for callers. Visit Contact Congress to learn more about these initiatives against H.R. 2997.
While a full vote on H.R.2997 looms in the House, the U.S. Senate last month delivered a resounding “no” to the matter in that chamber’s FAA reauthorization bill, S. 1405, which addresses the need for aviation system modernization without calling for ATC privatization.
View the GA groups’ letter about H.R. 2997 here.