Aug. 16, 2017

Spokane Airports Tenants Association (SATA) President Blake McKinley recently detailed the negative impacts H.R. 2997 – pending legislation that would privatize the ATC system – would have on his city’s airports.

“Our nation’s air traffic control system is the safest and most efficient system in the world, and we want to keep it that way,” McKinley wrote in an article to his group’s members. “A privatized board heavily biased toward the airlines would not represent the interests of all aspects of aviation fairly. This would affect private and business aviation, medevac, firefighting, agricultural, news reporting, flight instruction and aircraft charter services.”

As an instrument-rated commercial licensed pilot, McKinley is afraid H.R. 2997 would do significant harm to general aviation. “I’m quite confident that the airlines view [general aviation] as a nuisance,” he said. “Privatization heavily favors the large airports, and will leave lower-tier airports such as Spokane International, smaller general aviation reliever airports like Felts Field and our rural community airports at a huge disadvantage, not only in terms of denial of access, but also possible denial of infrastructure funding.”

McKinley concluded, “The National Airspace System is vital to the nation’s economy and national security,” adding that a privatized ATC system “does not set up the kind of winning outcome that allows for continued productive gains, let alone, growth in the general aviation community.”

Read McKinley’s full article. (PDF)

SATA is one of more than 100 groups across the country urging its members to contact their elected representatives and voice disapproval of H.R. 2997. According to Kristi Ivey, NBAA Northwest regional representative, just because Congress is on its annual August recess does not mean the general aviation sector should take a break as well.

“ATC privatization would decimate general aviation,” said Ivey. “I cannot stress enough how urgent it is has become that our stakeholder concerns are being heard. Congress needs to hear from a collective voice representing GA interests in a region, state, or through local advocacy groups such as SATA. Make sure your congressional delegation is receiving and recording your opposition to H.R. 2997 by using NBAA’s Contact Congress advocacy tools. And during this August recess, seek out opportunities to connect with senators and representatives at local town halls and outreach meetings.”