GA Groups Highlight ATC Reform Concerns to Lawmakers

 - March 22, 2017, 11:31 AM
More than a dozen business and general aviation associations wrote U.S. House and Senate leaders on March 21 to reiterate their concerns about the push to create a user-funded, independent air traffic control organization.

Sixteen aviation associations wrote U.S. House and Senate leaders yesterday to reiterate their concerns about the push to create a user-funded, independent air traffic control organization and to encourage lawmakers to provide adequate time for review of any such proposal that may surface. 

The associations, largely representing business and general aviation interests, told the respective leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Commerce Committee, “For over a year, some big airlines have pushed for a new governance and funding model for our nation’s aviation system, based on systems in other parts of the world. The general aviation community has very real and long-standing concerns, which include but are not limited to user fees.”

These concerns stem from the effect foreign systems have had on general aviation, the associations said, adding, “It is worth noting that the majority of all general aviation in the world today takes place in the U.S. Working with Congress, aviation stakeholders have been able to ensure that our system operates for the public benefit, providing access for all stakeholders to airports, heliports and airspace, and encouraging competition and innovation.”

The letters from the associations come as Congress begins to craft a long-term FAA reauthorization proposal that is widely expected to include an effort to reform the U.S. ATC system. An airline-backed independent ATC system received a boost from the new Trump Administration, which included the proposal—but provided no detail—in its first budget. Congress is facing a September 30 deadline to either adopt a long-term FAA reauthorization bill or a short-term extension.

“We respectfully request that you provide ample opportunity for all stakeholders and citizens to carefully review, analyze and debate any proposed legislation changing the governance and funding for air traffic control,” the associations added.

Signing the letters were the Air Care Alliance, AEA, AOPA, Citation Jet Pilots, Commemorative Air Force, EAA, GAMA, HAI, International Council of Air Shows, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Association of State Aviation Officials, NATA, NBAA, Recreational Aviation Foundation, U.S. Parachute Association and Veterans Airlift Command.