Jan. 18, 2016

“A critical moment in the battle against a privatized ATC system funded by user fees is upon us.” That was the message NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recently delivered in separate presentations to NBAA’s Leadership Council, more than 200 members of the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association, and also to a separate meeting of 45 local and regional business aviation group leaders.

As a March 31 deadline for FAA reauthorization approaches, Bolen encouraged all business aviation stakeholders to ask their federal legislators to oppose ATC privatization funded by user fees.

“Don’t wait,” Bolen said. “It’s better to get a dialogue started now, so we have established relationships” with members of Congress prior to the vote.

“We encourage everyone to be informed and engaged,” he added. NBAA’s online Contact Congress tool is a simple way local advocates can contact legislators about the issue. View NBAA’s online Contact Congress advocacy resource. Bolen noted that the tool has recently been updated, so that it is easier than ever to use from the smartphones, tablets and other devices used by people in business aviation, an industry in which people are often away from their desktop computers.

He also reminded participants in the briefing that in addition to Contact Congress – an email-based resource – NBAA also offers a way for advocating through social media, with the association’s Twitter-based advocacy tool. View these NBAA resources.

Bolen’s briefings this week comes on the heels of a Jan. 13 meeting in Washington, DC, hosted by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-4-KS), in which NBAA and its member companies from Kansas and elsewhere discussed their concerns over a privatized ATC system funded through user fees with Pompeo and a group of lawmakers. Read about the Jan. 13 meeting with Pompeo.

Late last year, in a similar grassroots advocacy event held by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City, NBAA and its member companies voiced their concerns over the issue. Read more about the meeting with Moran.

“Clearly, there are a number of actions people can take to make their voices heard with Congress in the FAA reauthorization debate, Bolen continued. “We can look for opportunities to meet with our elected officials in their states. We can meet with them in Washington, DC. We can do something as simple, but equally effective, as reaching out to them through email, or social media.

“The important thing in this debate, is that we all stand together, and ensure that lawmakers understand the size and importance of the business aviation community, and that they know of our concerns over a privatized ATC funded by user fees,” he concluded.