April 4, 2016

Listen to an NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more on NBAA’s Call to Action in support of the Senate bill..

Local and regional aviation groups have answered NBAA’s Call to Action in support the Senate’s version of FAA reauthorization legislation, which does not include provisions for a privatized ATC system, and that support is making a difference.

David Belastock, president of the Teterboro Users Group (TUG), sent email blasts to his 300 constituents at least three times in recent months. “The NBAA message supporting the Senate FAA reauthorization bill captured the essence of our concerns. We know this is an issue that affects a much broader segment of the aviation industry than just those of us at Teterboro Airport,” he said. “So in an unfiltered way, we forwarded that information to our constituents. The response has been very satisfactory.”

Belastock said TUG urges its members to use the NBAA Contact Congress tool to quickly make their feelings known on Capitol Hill regarding both the House and Senate versions of FAA reauthorization legislation. View NBAA’s Contact Congress resource.

The message is also going out to members of other aviation advocacy groups.

“We support the Senate version of the FAA reauthorization bill,” said Jeff Smith, vice president for operations at the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council (ERHC). “I can easily imagine that if we didn’t own the airspace through the FAA, and had to go hat-in-hand to the managers of a privately run ATC system, helicopter operations in the Northeast wouldn’t be taken into consideration at all.

“This is a very big thing for us. It’s very important to our members. Any change in ATC is a hot-button topic for us,” Smith said. The implementation of NextGen is also a top-of-mind topic for ERHC members.

“As NextGen is implemented, it’s very important for us to be more than an afterthought,” he added.

At the Georgia Business Aviation Association, Dave Small said he’s convinced local and regional efforts aimed at turning back efforts to privatize ATC functions are making a difference. His group has sent its approximately 300 members several updates on the situation, tailoring the messages to their needs.

“The House version of the reauthorization bill seemed to have a good bit of momentum, but with the introduction of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill, the winds seem to be changing,” said Small. “Thank God for the Senate version. That’s something we’ve outlined to our members, and the membership has certainly responded in a positive way.”