June 24, 2015

Speaking to a gathering of aviation and business travel constituents on June 23, NBAA President and CEO Bolen again warned that House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9-PA) is likely to put forth a reauthorization bill for the FAA that will have at its core a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, funded by user fees.

Bolen made his comments at the fifth annual JETNET iQ Global Business Aviation Summit in New York City. In his address, he reminded the capacity crowd of media representatives, industry analysts and others of the vital importance of business aviation as an economic driver, and critical link in America’s economy and transportation system, and of NBAA’s long-standing work to represent the industry.

Bolen’s comments echoed those he has recently made in other forums before Congress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry panels.

“NBAA was created to allow business aviation to thrive,” Bolen said. “Since its inception the association has fought off, defended and defeated bad ideas that would harm our industry – ideas that, if they became law, would represent a significant setback from where we are today. I’m here to tell you that a privatized ATC system funded by user fees is a bad idea.”

Bolen restated the critical question of who will ensure that the interest of the American public – including the citizens and companies in towns and communities across the U.S. – is being safeguarded.

If Congress delegates or outsources its constitutional responsibility over decisions regarding access and taxation for those who rely on the nation’s aviation system, Bolen noted, decisions about aviation system funding and governance will likely be handed over to self-interested parties focused on the needs of aviation in the large, metropolitan areas dominated by the commercial airlines.

“We have the most complex, diverse, and sophisticated air traffic control system in the world, and in order to remain the leader we, the aviation community, are going to have to fight this bill on every level,” if it is introduced as expected, Bolen said.

On Thursday, June 25, Bolen will attend the NBAA Regional Forum at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, which draws more than 2,000 attendees from across the business aviation community and focuses on the major challenges and opportunities facing business aviation both nationally and locally. He intends to provide NBAA Members with a legislative update at that forum.