Aug. 28, 2017

Christa Lucas

With Congress in recess throughout August, NBAA’s government affairs team looked to the break as an opportunity to engage with business aviation professionals across the country on the most pressing legislative concerns of 2017, most notably the effort underway on Capitol Hill to privatize the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.

In her keynote address at the Virginia Aviation Conference, NBAA Vice President of Government Affairs Christa Lucas pointed to the many negative effects that privatization could have on the Commonwealth’s sizable general aviation industry.

“As just one example, airport improvement program (AIP) funds would be in jeopardy under the risky scheme before Congress,” Lucas noted. “That really resonated with the airport managers and consultants in attendance, because those grants are vital to maintaining Virginia’s aviation infrastructure.”

Lucas also pointed to recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) findings that current efforts to privatize ATC would grow America’s budget deficit by nearly $100 billion. “Our current aviation system is the crown jewel throughout the world,” she continued. “It’s important that we continue calling on our representatives in Congress and letting them know about the detrimental effects posed by ATC privatization. They must know their constituents are watching this matter very closely.”

In remarks at the 15th Annual West Virginia Aviation Conference, NBAA Vice President of Government Affairs Dick Doubrava urged aviation and airport attendees to contact their elected federal officials to urge opposition to H.R. 2997, which would remove Congressional oversight over the nation’s air traffic control system and “replace it with an airline-centric board governance structure” that would have little interest in protecting airports and general aviation in the Mountain State.

“ATC privatization is an inherently bad idea for general aviation and airports,” he noted. “I believe that our community clearly understands how dangerous this proposal is to the future of general aviation and these face-to-face meetings are vital in building support to defeat it. The most important voices on this issue come from those working in the industry, and who understand its enormous benefits to the nation.”

Doubrava echoed those concerns at an event in Colorado with elected officials there, and during a general aviation panel discussion at the AAAE General Aviation Issues and Security Conference at the Van Nuys, CA airport.

Both Lucas and Doubrava also encouraged the airport and general aviation community to use resources including NBAA’s Contact Congress, and the website, to engage with their elected officials on the issue.