Jan. 8, 2016

As it has with every previous proposal for creating a privatized ATC system funded by user fees, NBAA actively opposes current such proposals, which have recently been put forward as part of the debate on Washington over reauthorization of the FAA.

“The potentially dire consequences from such actions cannot be overstated,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen wrote in a Dec. 3, 2015, Call to Action for the industry to contact Congress in opposition to proposals for a privatized ATC funded with user fees. “Without Congress to ensure that our nation’s air traffic system safeguards the aviation needs of the entire public – including the people and companies that rely on general aviation in small and mid-size towns – such sweeping authority would instead be granted to a group of self-interested parties.” Read Bolen’s Call to Action.

As the FAA reauthorization debate continues to heat up, proponents of a privatized ATC funded through user fees are taking their message to the media, with newspaper opinion pieces, or “op-eds” recently published in New York, Florida and Colorado media markets.

For example, a Dec. 19 opinion piece in the Miami Herald, authored by a former FAA COO, states that the United Kingdom’s privatized ATC system serves as a model for the U.S. to emulate. Read the full opinion piece.

NBAA has been quick to respond to the op-eds, including the Miami Herald piece, with the facts about privatized ATC systems funded by user fees.

In a submission published Jan. 7, NBAA COO Steve Brown – a former FAA deputy administrator – told readers “a seminal moment in the UK system’s history came when the supposedly ‘stable and predictable funding stream’ that would be generated by its user fees proved to be so volatile that it needed a massive bailout from the government and taxpayers.” Brown went on to cite a UK Airport Commission report pointing to “more delays, higher fares, and reduced connectivity” at airports in London and across the UK.

Brown concluded by noting that the current U.S. ATC system needs improvements,, but added: “it’s critical that discussions about modernization are based on facts, and on fixing what is broken – everything else is a just a distraction from that imperative.” Read Brown’s submission to the Miami Herald.