Jan. 22 2016

As the new year begins, business aviation finds itself in a pitched battle over the future of the U.S. aviation system.

As part of the Congressional debate over FAA reauthorization, airline interests and others are supporting the creation of a privatized ATC system funded by user fees.

This poses an existential threat to business aviation. Privatized ATC systems in other countries often are dominated by airline interests, which are given sweeping authority to determine who gets to fly, when and where they will fly, how much it will cost to do so, and what type of payment, including user fees, will be required.

If America’s elected officials, who base their aviation-policy decisions on the broad public interest, do not retain oversight of the ATC system, the companies and communities that rely on general aviation may no longer have unrestricted, affordable access to airports and airspace, which is key to business aviation’s efficiency and flexibility.

So it’s never been more important for our industry to ensure that our unified voice opposing a privatized ATC funded by user fees is heard in Washington, DC. NBAA is helping individuals to do that by optimizing the association’s online Contact Congress resource for use on mobile devices, making it easier for people to connect with elected officials via smartphones and tablets, anywhere, any time.

Of course, beyond the mobilization that will be needed around specific legislative issues such as FAA reauthorization, there also will be a continuing need to advocate for the industry on an ongoing basis. Policymakers and opinion leaders must be educated about the size and significance of business aviation, and its importance to America’s citizens, companies and communities.

That’s why we’ve taken steps to ensure that the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign remains fresh and relevant.

For example, we’ve published a new Harris Poll survey that puts forward the true face of business aviation, depicting an industry in which the typical company is a small or mid-sized business flying a single aircraft used by a broad mix of employees to make trips to and from community airports that have little or no airline service.

We’ve also updated the No Plane No Gain website (www.noplanenogain.org), so that it is easily adaptable to personal electronic devices, and is better integrated with social media, so people can share information and coordinate grassroots advocacy efforts.

The improved website also includes an updated version of the popular Business Leaders on Business Aviation booklet, which features 25 respected CEOs from successful companies, who explain how business aviation helps their organizations succeed.

These updated tools are important because in the FAA reauthorization debate we need everyone in our industry to be vocal.

These new resources should help all business aviation professionals to be part of that effort.