Bolen States Opposition to H.R. 4441, Calling It ‘Big Airlines’ Power Grab’

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

Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2016 – In testimony today before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen warned of the potentially harmful consequences inherent in the creation a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, funded by user fees, as proposed in H.R. 4441, a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“Our nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system is a monopoly, and will always remain a monopoly,” Bolen noted in testimony before the committee. “So, the question on the table is, who will control that monopoly – the public’s elected representatives, or a board dominated by big airlines? H.R. 4441 is proposing to give away our monopoly ATC system, free of charge, to the nation’s big airlines. That is a fundamentally flawed idea.

“Some have asked NBAA and others in general aviation what ‘protections’ we need in order to go along with the plan to give unbridled authority to the airlines,” Bolen continued. “The very question itself is a tacit acknowledgement that real dangers exist.

“The turnover over of our ATC monopoly to the airlines represents a serious threat to the future of general aviation, and the citizens, companies and communities that depend on it. It is a poison pill, and no sugar-coating can change that.”

Read Bolen’s Feb. 10 House testimony in its entirety.

Bolen noted that 85 percent of NBAA’s members are small and mid-sized businesses, often operating from small towns and communities. “This legislation puts at risk vital access to airports and airspace for those companies and communities,” he said.

“We know that when it comes to air traffic modernization, the status quo is not acceptable – but neither is turning over our nation’s aviation system to the commercial airlines,” Bolen added. “We support a third way forward that would implement targeted solutions to identified problems, in order to ensure America’s aviation system remains the world’s best in all aspects, for the next five years, 10 years, 25 years and beyond.”

Immediately after the release of H.R. 4441 last week, NBAA issued a “Call to Action” encouraging those in the business aviation community to contact their members of Congress, and make their voices heard against ATC privatization, which is contrary to long-held positions of the business aviation community, and threatens America’s world-class aviation system. Review Bolen’s Feb. 8 Call to Action in its entirety.

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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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