July 6, 2015
Thousands of concerned industry stakeholders have made their voices heard in the short time since NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen issued a Call to Action for NBAA Members to contact their elected representatives over looming proposals to create a private air traffic control (ATC) system, funded through user fees.
Bolen issued the Call to Action on June 25 in response to a renewed call for aviation user fees by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA-9), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Shuster announced that he would soon release an FAA reauthorization bill calling for these fees to fund a privatized entity that would strip Congress of its oversight role over the National Airspace System.
“Within the first 24 hours, thousands of Members had used NBAA’s Contact Congress resource to send letters to their elected representatives in nearly every state,“ Bolen noted. “Many also reached out to NBAA about what additional steps they planned to take in spreading word about the potential destructive effects of these proposals.“
For example, the Air Care Alliance (ACA) – a non-profit group of companies with volunteer pilots who will fly medical patients for treatment, and provide flights or other aviation services to help those in need – advised members about these latest threats to business aviation in a message that included links to Bolen’s Call to Action and NBAA’s Contact Congress page.
“I would encourage all groups to have staff contact their representatives, and the groups should also send out these links to their pilots and donors to get them engaged in this effort to stop this devastating path,“ said ACA president Lindy Kirkland.
This response also extended beyond traditional business aviation groups.
“I just shared this with my 750 members, some 300 Facebook followers and via email,“ noted Jason Baker, founder of www.seaplaneforum.com and several other online discussion groups for general aviation enthusiasts. “Thank you for running a professional and aggressively working advocacy organization.“
The Call to Action also asked Association Members and stakeholders to use Twitter to let elected officials know they were again privatization plans, and encouraged the use of the hashtag #NoPrivatizedATC. To date, more than 200 tweets have spread this message.
Bolen noted that NBAA would continue to keep the industry advised of the latest developments on these issues, as well as additional actions they could take.
“We have always said that the messaging coming from NBAA’s professional staff on any issue, including this one, is most effective when the industry echoes that message,“ he concluded. “We are very pleased by the response from our Members and others who have made their voices heard in opposition to user fees and a privatized ATC system. That is the most effective way to ensure our role in shaping the ultimate outcome of this issue.“