NBAA Stands With Broad Coalition Urging Congress to Reject Airline ATC Takeover

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-783-9360,

Washington, DC, Feb. 26, 2018 ­– The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today joined with more than 200 organizations representing general aviation pilots, consumer groups, manufacturers, businesses, airports, management associations and unions in once again urging congressional leaders to reject efforts to include so-called “privatization” of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system in an infrastructure bill, or any other bill.

“As you all know, bipartisan support for legislation investing in our nation’s infrastructure will be critical to getting a bill to the president’s desk,” wrote the groups. “While Congress will face many challenges as it considers a comprehensive infrastructure bill, the divisive ATC privatization proposal, which is full of risk and unintended consequences, should not be one of them.”

The letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-1-WI) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-12-CA).

The groups noted that concerns over transferring the ATC system to a board dominated by the airlines and their interests have stopped the House from moving a long-term bill (H.R. 2997) to reauthorize funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Handing over control of the ATC system, free of charge, to an airline-dominated board has been met with concern or outright opposition by congressional leaders from both political parties, as well as a host of business, airport and agricultural organizations, passenger groups, pilot groups, conservative and liberal groups, unions, 100 mayors from every state, more than 100 pilot-CEOs, aviation legends (including hero-pilot Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger), a majority of Americans and more.

Independent, widely respected analysts have also raised red flags about the concept, including the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service.

“Congress should focus on finding solutions that will garner strong industry support to help rebuild our nation’s infrastructure,” the groups’ letter continued. “For the aviation industry, that means modernization, not privatization.”

The groups stressed that general aviation generates $219 billion in total economic output annually in the United States and supports 1.1 million jobs. “Access to our national airspace and ecosystem of airports creates jobs and generates local economic activity, which helps make our aviation system work for all Americans,” they wrote.

“This growing and well-informed chorus of individuals and organizations remains united against any plan to give control of the nation’s aviation system to a private board beyond the reach of Congress,” noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “The United States has the safest, largest, most diverse and most efficient air traffic control system in the world. We will continue to support effective, bipartisan solutions to the challenges of modernization, so America can continue to be the world’s aviation leader five, 10 and 25 years from now.”

Read the full letter. (PDF)