Aug. 21, 2015

At recent meetings in West Virginia, South Dakota and Oregon, Dick Doubrava’s message to business aviation stakeholders and airport officials has been clear: with a potentially onerous FAA reauthorization bill looming – including a possible proposal for the creation of a privatized ATC system funded by user fees – the stakes are high, and advocating on your own behalf is essential.

Doubrava, NBAA’s vice president of government affairs, has been crisscrossing the country during the August congressional recess, speaking at a number of aviation events and meeting with elected officials, NBAA members and others about the importance of general aviation and the potential threat of certain legislative proposals, especially to rural states with limited commercial airline service, such as West Virginia and South Dakota.

“Wherever we go, we share NBAA’s concerns and discuss NBAA’s efforts regarding the upcoming FAA reauthorization battle in Congress, and the potentially disastrous impact that user fees would have on the economy of each state because of their effect on general aviation stakeholders,” said Doubrava.

“NBAA is out front as these debates continue in Washington, DC and around the country,” continued Doubrava, “but it is critical that local aviation interests also contact their elected officials about the possibly dire consequences of privatizing the ATC system, which could leave decisions about user fees, where and when companies using business aviation can fly, and how much it will cost, up to a privatized board of directors made up of self-interested parties.”

During a presentation to the West Virginia Airport Managers Association in Daniels, WV, Doubrava discussed how that state – which has been losing airline service and is particularly dependent on general aviation – would be hit especially hard if ATC privatization and user fees were implemented. Doubrava, who was joined at that meeting by NBAA Southeast Regional Representative Greg Voos, encouraged attendees to get involved, contact their legislators and advocate on behalf of their airports.

During a four-day trip to South Dakota that took Doubrava and NBAA Northwest Regional Representative Kristi Ivey to Pierre, Rapid City, Mitchell and Sioux Falls, the two met with a variety of aviation stakeholders. Again, the message was clear: they should contact their legislators in Washington, letting them know that Congress must continue to ensure that the nation’s ATC system safeguards the aviation needs of the public, including the people and companies that rely on general aviation.

“Continued congressional oversight of the ATC system is particularly critical to a state such as South Dakota, which largely depends on general aviation’s access to airports and airspace,” said Doubrava.

Doubrava noted that South Dakota is fortunate that its three elected U.S. legislators – Sen. John Thune (R), Sen. Mike Rounds (R) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R) – are members of the Senate and House General Aviation Caucuses, respectively. Sen. Thune is also chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, which will draft the Senate’s version of the FAA reauthorization bill.