June 20, 2016
During an industry panel at the Florida Aviation Business Association (FABA) annual conference in Sarasota, FL, Christa Fornarotto, NBAA vice president of government affairs, continued to raise serious concerns over proposals to privatize the nation’s ATC system.
She was joined in a discussion focused on the issue by fellow panelists Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and Tom Hendricks, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), on June 14.
An attempt to privatize the ATC system and fund it with new user fees was put forth in FAA reauthorization legislation in the House of Representatives (H.R.4441) earlier this year. NBAA has been outspoken in its opposition to provisions, contained in the bill, that would put oversight for the privatized system largely into the hands of airline interests.
“The airlines have been trying for more than 20 years to privatize the air traffic control system, and we need to stay vigilant,” Fornarotto told the conference. “Any FAA reauthorization bill that includes ATC privatization will have a detrimental effect on general aviation. It could negatively impact access to airports and airspace and lead to unnecessary user fees. We need to make our voices heard and let federal legislators know the effects privatization will have on general aviation.”
Fornarotto also shared details of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill (H.R.636), which NBAA strongly supports. It was passed by a large, bipartisan majority, reflects a number of priorities for the general aviation community and contains no ATC privatization proposal. “It takes the right approach by finding smart, targeted solutions to identified challenges,” she said.
Fornarotto urged NBAA members to speak out against the House FAA legislation by contacting their members of Congress through NBAA’s Contact Congress tool. Messages can be sent by email or social media.
Finally, Fornarotto said NBAA continues to support a coalition formed by FABA that seeks to exempt general aviation aircraft from Florida’s sales tax. An economic-impact study that NBAA helped bring to fruition found that the exemption could create almost 300 permanent jobs, while adding $38 million in economic activity in the Sunshine State. NBAA continues to work with FABA to see the exemption become law.