National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today issued the following statement in response to the administration’s continuing calls for privatizing the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
The president’s renewed call for ATC privatization was included in a set of transportation-infrastructure spending “principles” advanced by the president today at the White House.
“NBAA has worked for many years to promote technologies, policies and procedures that ensure America’s aviation system remains the largest, best, safest and most diverse system in the world, Bolen said. “We are deeply concerned with the president’s call for ATC privatization – a concept that has long been a goal of the big airlines. No one should confuse ATC modernization with ATC privatization – the two are very different concepts.
“Unfortunately, the recent discussion about privatization is really about the airlines’ push to gain more control over our air traffic control system, so that they can run it for their own benefit, and is a sideshow to a serious and constructive discussion about building on the progress currently underway on NextGen,” Bolen said. “We are concerned that those left behind under ATC privatization would be the citizens, companies and communities that rely on general aviation for all manner of services.''
Proposals for privatizing ATC have been pushed by the airlines and their supporters as part of the continuing congressional debate over reauthorization of funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The concept has raised concerns among members from both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate, mayors from across the country and a majority of Americans. Organizations on the political left and right of center have also raised concerns, including that the details for ATC privatization included in the president’s most recent budget documents may increase the deficit.
Aviation groups have also opposed the concept, and today, a host of aviation organizations sent a joint letter to the White House signaling continuing concerns over ATC privatization. Review the letter in its entirety.
“NBAA continues to be focused on the goal of aviation-system modernization, and we will work with the Congress and administration to make that a reality,” Bolen added. “At the same time, we will ensure that the business aviation community is vigilant and ready to mobilize on any legislative proposals that would distract or hinder progress on modernization.”