Washington, DC, Sept. 8, 2017 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today pointed to a newly released analysis from the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), which became the latest in a growing number of groups to express concerns about pending legislation that would privatize the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
In an analysis released Sept. 7, the ACUF said that the legislation that includes provisions for privatizing the ATC system – H.R. 2997 – doesn’t meet its privatization principles and “would not actually privatize a governmental entity.”
The proposal for privatizing the ATC system is being pushed by the big airlines as Congress debates a long-term FAA reauthorization bill. Under the proposal, congressional oversight of the nation’s aviation system would be replaced by an entity governed by a private, airline-centric board, unaccountable to Congress. H.R. 2997 was introduced in the House of Representatives June 21 by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“Specifically, private enterprises would not be allowed to compete for ownership of the newly created entity, American Air Navigation Services Corporation (AANSC),” noted the ACUF. “In fact, the very makeup of this entity raises serious questions as to how this transfer of power would work: the U.S. Secretary of Transportation would be given the authority to decide the makeup of employees and approve the fees to fund operations, while the board of directors, which would include directors appointed by the government, would have to accept existing union contracts.”
The ACUF also noted that the bill would create an entity much like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, exposing taxpayers to “undue risk while the labor costs associated with this new entity would go unchecked.”
In addition, the ACUF also noted that the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the privatization bill would swell budget deficits, “contributing to the already out-of-control spending problem we desperately need to curtail.”
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said that ACUF’s analysis of H.R. 2997 adds to the large, diverse and growing number of organizations that have serious concerns about ATC privatization in general and H.R. 2997 specifically.
“Among the many dubious claims raised by ATC privatization proponents is that the concept adheres to free market principles,” said Bolen. “As this ACUF analysis makes clear, that’s not the reality. Instead, this legislation amounts to nothing more than a handover of the nation’s aviation system to the big airlines. It also adds to the large body of evidence that makes clear that ATC privatization should not be equated with ATC modernization.”
NBAA members have mobilized in opposition to H.R. 2997. The association’s Contact Congress resource provides a means for using email and social media to alert lawmakers to the industry’s opposition to the bill. In addition, a toll-free action line – 1-833-GA-VOICE – connects constituents with elected representatives to express opposition to the legislation.
More than 100 aviation groups also oppose ATC privatization, and have joined in supporting a dedicated website – ATCNotforSale.com – where citizens can also learn more about the threat from ATC privatization, and contact their elected officials to oppose H.R. 2997. A Facebook page – Air Traffic Control – ATC Not for Sale – provides regular updates about the concerns over ATC privatization.