NBAA Chief Warns of Renewed ATC Privatization Push at SDC17

 - February 8, 2017, 11:53 AM
NBAA head Ed Bolen expects the fight over ATC privatization to heat up again, ahead of a meeting between the airlines and the new President.

NBAA’s 28th Annual Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference (SDC) officially launched this morning with an opening session at Texas’s Fort Worth Convention Center. After awarding the 10th annual Schedulers & Dispatchers Outstanding Achievement and Leadership Award to Aymie Thornton, corporate flight operations manager with J.C. Penney, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen gave a brief history on the founding of the organization, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

He described how 19 companies joined together in 1947 with a goal of protecting general aviation access to the nation’s airspace and airports, and noted that not much has changed in that respect 70 years later, as the same fights are being fought today. “We still have very significant challenges in terms of access to airspace and keeping open our airports,” Bolen told the audience.

He said that for the past 20 years the airlines have pushed an agenda of privatizing air traffic control, funded by user fees and controlled by an airline-dominated board. They are scheduled to meet with the new President tomorrow, and most believe that the topic of privatization is certainly going to be one of the major items on the agenda. “There’s nothing new about the idea, there is something new about the magnitude of the challenge,” explained Bolen, urging the audience to express their views to their elected officials, using the tools NBAA has developed. “All of us have got to find a way to collectively work to make sure that our elected representatives know what is at stake.”

With this year’s conference theme of “Steer Your Career,” SDC committee chairwoman and Pentastar Aviation communication specialist Danielle Gordon described how direction and motion are the two key principles industry members need to take into account when developing their career trajectory. Many of the educational offerings at this year’s conference are intended to help attendees focus their career goals. The morning session concluded with a presentation on positive personal communication skills by author and professional speaker Sarita Maybin.