July 25, 2017
The head of a physicians group that relies on business aviation to provide medical care for rural hospitals is urging the rejection of legislation that would privatize the nation’s ATC system.
Dr. Michael W. Gregory, chairman and founder of Apogee Physicians, wrote in a letter to his employees that as someone who flies more than “200 days a year into airports small and large, I can tell you we have the best, safest air traffic system on the planet.”
He urged the employees to oppose the privatization legislation, H.R. 2997, noting it would give airlines control over the ATC system.
“I don’t know if you have been stuck in airport or missed something important because of the incompetence of the airline industry,” he wrote. “The airlines blame air traffic control for their problems… the same airlines that remove paying passengers from their seats using armed police want to get control of the air traffic control system.
“They would have you believe that delays and missed connections are the result of the government and not their own incompetence. Nothing could be further than truth.”
Apogee’s physicians are “hospitalists,” doctors whose focus is to provide specialized in-patient care, often in rural communities. He has highlighted the ways business aviation has supported his company in interviews with NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider magazine [January 2007], in videos from CEOs explaining business aviation value (YouTube), and in the No Plane No Gain Business Leaders on Business Aviation booklet, in which dozens of business leaders provide comments about how a business aircraft helps their companies. Most recently, Gregory was among the 100-plus signatories to a letter sent to Congress opposing H.R. 2997.
Gregory has said that business aviation has been key to meeting the needs of his clients, which are geographically remote hospitals.
“It is a simple question: do you trust the airline industry to run the FAA’s air traffic control system in the best interest of passengers or themselves? Please call 855-GA-VOICE (855-265-9002) as a voter to state your opposition to H.R. 2997’s plans to privatize ATC,” he wrote.
Gregory also shared a recent video message opposing ATC privatization from Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who performed a heroic emergency landing of a disabled US Airways airplane on New York City’s Hudson River in 2009.
View the video message from Sullenburger.
NBAA has been fighting the legislation and similar proposals because of a host of negative effects ATC privatization would have on general aviation. Privatization would turn control over the system – currently overseen by the public’s elected representatives in Congress – to a new entity governed by private interests unaccountable to congressional oversight.