House ATC Privatization Bill Advances; NBAA Continues Opposition

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2016 – Following a House Committee’s Feb. 11 passage of controversial legislation for privatizing the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today said the association would remain undeterred in opposing the bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.

The bill, H.R. 4441, introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-9-PA), authorizes programs and funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The measure calls for the creation of a new, private ATC entity, removed from congressional oversight and governed by an airline-centric board.

With the airlines and their employees holding the greatest number of seats on the board, decisions over access to airports and airspace will be made in the airlines’ interest, instead of in the interest of the entire public, thereby threatening the ability of citizens and communities to access a vital transportation lifeline.

The bill was “marked up,” or amended, yesterday by the T&I committee. The markup concluded with a final vote to forward the legislation to the full House for consideration.

“Chairman Shuster marshaled his majority to push this bill through the committee,” Bolen said, noting that the bill was passed largely along partisan lines.

Bolen said it was unfortunate that more targeted approaches, like those offered by the committee’s Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-4-OR), and other committee Democrats, were rejected. Bolen also thanked Reps. Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and Todd Rokita (R-4-IN) for standing with the GA community and voting in opposition to the bill.

“We thank Rep. DeFazio and the committee Democrats, as well as Reps. Graves and Rokita, for voting against the fatally flawed privatization scheme promoted by this legislation,” Bolen said.

Bolen added that, although House leaders have yet to designate a timeframe for bringing the legislation before the full House for debate, Shuster has signaled his intention to do so at the earliest possible opportunity.

“This bill has reached a critical milestone in its journey toward becoming the law of the land,” Bolen said. “That means it is imperative for all of us in the business aviation community to underscore our grave concerns about turning over the air traffic control system to a board dominated by the big airlines. We simply cannot trust the airlines to operate the system in a way that allows business aviation to continue to thrive. Elected officials are beginning to recognize the dangers inherent in H.R. 4441, but NBAA and its members need to do more.”

NBAA will continue to call upon people in the industry to make their voices heard with legislators in opposition to the measure. To do so, visit NBAA’s online Contact Congress resource.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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