Jan.13, 2016

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-4-KS) on Jan. 11 hosted NBAA member companies from Kansas and elsewhere to discuss the industry concerns about proposed legislation to privatize the ATC system and fund it with user fees.

Proposals for doing that have been put forward as part of the debate underway in Washington over reauthorization of the FAA.

“The current proposals to privatize our nation’s air traffic control system represent the most significant threat to the future of general aviation I have seen in over four decades in the industry,” said Russ Meyer, chairman emeritus with Cessna Aircraft Company. “At the invitation of Rep. Pompeo, nearly two dozen leaders from the Kansas aviation community flew to Washington, D.C. to underscore our grave concerns. We are very fortunate to have Rep. Pompeo, Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts and a congressional delegation who not only understand and appreciate the critical role general aviation plays in our nation’s transportation system and economy, but are willing to fight for it.”

“As a representative of Kansas’ Fourth District, I am proud of the prominent role that general aviation plays in driving our economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and providing billions of dollars in labor income and economic output,” Pompeo said.

“Improvements to the FAA need to be made in order for general aviation to continue in excellence, but it is crucial that Congress take a commonsense approach to reforming the FAA in a way that strengthens our entire air transportation system,” he added. “This means focusing on smart solutions to specific problems, and steering clear of Washington’s typical sledge hammer approach to legislating, which only ends up creating more problems than we fix. We have an enormous opportunity in the aviation community, and across other industries, to improve the way our skies are regulated and strengthen general aviation simply by doing what makes the most sense for our businesses and for the American people.”

The meeting served as a town hall forum for a number of people with NBAA member companies to engage in dialogue with Pompeo and several other members of Congress. The consensus among NBAA members was that America’s ATC system is the world’s largest, safest, most diverse and efficient. Additionally, the congressional oversight authority and tax structure over America’s ATC system recognizes the needs of all stakeholders, including the companies and communities that rely on business aviation as a transportation lifeline to business centers across the U.S and around the world.

Pompeo had requested the meeting to provide the opportunity for other members of congress to hear from the business aviation community first hand and demonstrate how the geographically and economically diverse industry relies on a government-operated ATC system. The representative has taken other steps to raise visibility on the issue, underscoring his arguments against a privatized ATC system funded by user fees in an opinion piece published in the Capitol Hill news outlet, Politico. View Pompeo’s article titled, “The wrong way to fix the FAA.”

“I really commend Congressman Pompeo for his leadership in bringing together a large and diverse group of people connected to general aviation in Kansas to discuss the eminent threat of privatizing our air traffic control system,” said Jack Pelton, Chairman and CEO, Experimental Aviation Association. “General aviation is facing a huge challenge and it was encouraging to see that the entire Kansas Congressional delegation getting involved in this fight.”

NBAA members’ advocacy efforts were welcomed by lawmakers, who reminded the group that their concerns were appreciated, and their stake was a valued consideration as Congress reevaluates the role of the FAA in the coming months.

This meeting follows a recent grassroots advocacy event held in November 2015 by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City.

NBAA members from across the United States can send a message on the issue to their congressional delegation by using the association’s Contact Congress online advocacy tool.

Learn more about NBAA’s stance on FAA reauthorization proposals.