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Updated April 19, 2016
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is once again up for reauthorization by Congress. The current authorization to fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expires on July 15, 2016, and Congress must take action by that time. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, chaired by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) have jurisdiction over the legislation.
On Feb. 3, Chairman Shuster introduced House Bill H.R.4441 indicating his intent to create a new, privatized air traffic control (ATC) system – separate from the FAA, not subject to congressional oversight and funded by user fees. H.R.4441 was marked up, or amended, in Committee and passed largely on partisan lines. It is awaiting consideration by the full House of Representatives.
On March 9, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation introduced, with NBAA’s support, a bill to reauthorize funding and programs for the FAA without language for creating a privatized ATC system, overseen by an airline-centric board of directors and funded through onerous new user fees. It was reported out by the committee on March 16 and H.R.636 passed the full Senate in a bipartisan vote.
Our nation’s airspace and airport system should benefit the public and not be controlled by airline interests. The American public agrees, and a recent poll found the majority of voters oppose privatizing ATC by a nearly two-to-one margin.
NBAA has analyzed business aviation operations and system funding in countries with privatized ATC systems, and has found that giving sweeping latitude over aviation system governance to airlines may allow them to effectively restrict where and when companies using business aviation can fly, and how much they pay.
There are only 500 or so cities in the United States that have scheduled airline service. But there are more than 5,000 small towns in the U.S. with airports that provide access to general aviation, including business aviation. Access to airports, and to the nation's airspace, creates jobs, generates economic activity and helps make America's aviation system work for all Americans.
In fact, general aviation supports more than 1 million jobs, and generates more than $200 billion in economic activity each year.
Protect Americans' ability to safely fly without excessive fees, and protect jobs and economic activity by saying no to the section of H.R.4441 that would privatize the air traffic control system and fund it with user fees and yes to H.R.636 which brings smart, targeted solutions to our aviation system.
Regional Session Highlights Importance of Local Efforts in ATC Privatization Debate
May 23, 2016
With proposals for privatization of air traffic control (ATC) still being pushed as part of the FAA reauthorization debate in Washington, DC, it is imperative that regional business aviation groups continue reaching out to their congressional representatives, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said at the fourth annual NBAA Local and Regional Group Leadership Roundtable, held last week in Boston, MA. "Keep doing what you've been doing: tell your elected officials why communities, companies and citizens across the country would be adversely impacted by ATC privatization, which would hand control of the system over to an airline-centric board of directors," Bolen said at the event, which was attended by more than 32 business aviation group leaders from across the country. Read more about the roundtable.
Bolen: Host of Voices Continue Raising Significant ATC-Privatization Concerns
May 16, 2016
During an industry panel on the future of America's ATC system held last week in Washington, DC, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen noted that in the course of the ongoing debate over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a number and variety of voices continue raising concerns over proposals for privatization of America's Air Traffic Control (ATC) system. "Over the course of the past year, there have been concerns raised by general aviation groups, consumer groups, labor groups, conservative groups and liberal groups," noted Bolen. "So how do we keep a system that serves the public interest?" View a video of the panel discussion, and read more about Bolen's remarks.
Bolen Calls for Continued Vigilance on FAA Reauthorization
April 26, 2016
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recently visited Scottsdale, AZ, and Wichita, KS, to encourage the business aviation community's continued advocacy on important issues, especially FAA reauthorization, emphasizing the need for everyone to remain proactively involved until the final legislation is passed. "FAA reauthorization legislation recently reached a milestone, with the Senate rejecting privatization of ATC," said Bolen. "NBAA believes turning ATC over to a private organization would be a dangerous and risky path." Read more about Bolen's encouragement of advocacy efforts.
Senate Debates FAA Reauthorization Bill
April 11, 2016
The Senate has undertaken debate on its version of a bill to reauthorize programs and funding for the FAA. Currently, the bill avoids any mention of creating a privatized ATC system, and funding it with new user fees. "The Senate reauthorization bill continues to represent a smart, targeted approach to funding the FAA's efforts to modernize what is already the world's safest ATC system, and includes several provisions that would be of tremendous benefit to business aviation," noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. Learn more about the Senate's FAA reauthorization bill.
Local Aviation Groups Answer NBAA’s Call to Support Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill
April 4, 2016
Local and regional aviation groups have answered NBAA’s Call to Action in support the Senate’s version of FAA reauthorization legislation, which does not include provisions for a privatized ATC system, and that support is making a difference. “We support the Senate version of the FAA reauthorization bill,” said Jeff Smith, vice president for operations at the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council. “I can easily imagine that if we didn’t own the airspace through the FAA, and had to go hat-in-hand to the managers of a privately run ATC system, helicopter operations in the Northeast wouldn’t be taken into consideration at all.” Read more about groups that have answered the Call to Action and listen to an NBAA Flight Plan podcast, sponsored by jet Quest, about the issue.
Contact Congress Tool Gets NBAA Members' Voices Heard in FAA Reauthorization
March 28, 2016
With the full Senate expected to vote on its version of the FAA reauthorization bill in early April, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said now is the time for NBAA members to contact senators in the support of the legislation. "We have an opportunity to let all of the senators know before they vote on the legislation that this is a good bill and it deserves to be passed," he said. NBAA's Contact Congress tool is an easy and effective way to contact the Senate, he added, and since NBAA issued it's first call to action – asking members to oppose the House version of the bill – "we have seen a response from our members that has been off the charts."
Listen to the NBAA Flight Plan podcast, sponsored by Jet Quest.
NBAA's Bolen and Fornarotto Thank Michigan Operators for Advocacy Efforts
March 17, 2016
NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and NBAA Vice President of Government Affairs Christa Fornarotto visited Lansing, MI last week to encourage the local business aviation community to continue its advocacy efforts on important industry issues, including FAA reauthorization. "It was important to share our industry's values, and explain to company government relations representatives how current issues threaten business aviation," said Bolen. Learn more.
NBAA Flight Plan Podcast: Let Congress Know ATC Privatization Would be a Mistake
March 14, 2016
The Alliance for Aviation Across America has posted a petition on change.org asking for support in the fight against ATC privatization. “It is basically telling people join us in sending a message to Congress that we do not want to privatize our air traffic control system,” Executive Director Selena Shilad said. Listen to this week's edition of the NBAA Flight Plan podcast, and learn how to join the fight against ATC privatization.
NBAA Flight Plan Podcast: The Battle Against Privatized ATC Continues: Get Involved
Feb. 29, 2016
Although U.S. House and Senate leaders will consider a short-term extension for FAA funding authority beyond the existing March 31 deadline, the reality is that the industry must remain vigilant against FAA reauthorization proposals for privatizing air traffic control, as contained in H.R. 4441. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said there's still a critical need for industry stakeholders to let their representatives know that such a scenario would hurt business aviation. "The House is still working to find a path to the floor for H.R. 4441, and the Senate is expected to introduce its own FAA reauthorization measure soon," noted Bolen. In this week's edition of the NBAA Flight Plan podcast, Bolen explains how people can take action today.
Alabama Group Asks Congressional Delegation to Oppose ATC Privatization
Feb. 29, 2016
Members of the Alabama Business Aviation Association (ABAA) last week flew to Washington, DC, for face-to-face meetings with Alabama's congressional representatives and staff to voice their concerns with H.R. 4441, a bill to reauthorize the FAA, which proposes the creation of a privatized ATC system. "It was an educational experience participating in the congressional process," said ABAA board member Ryan Waguespack. "ABAA was received favorably, as were our concerns regarding the potential negative impact on general aviation if ATC privatization is allowed." Read more about ABAA's visit with representatives.
Louisiana Airport Group Voices Opposition to Privatized ATC
Feb. 22, 2016
Demonstrating the breadth of opposition to a proposal to privatize ATC, the Louisiana Airport Managers and Associates (LAMA) recently approved a resolution opposing the replacement of congressional oversight of the nation's ATC network in favor of a private entity, as outlined in pending legislation (H.R. 4441) to reauthorize funding for the FAA. "LAMA is of the firm belief that oversight and regulation of air traffic control will be best accomplished by reauthorizing the [FAA], and more specifically, by maintaining FAA and congressional oversight," the resolution stated.Read more about the LAMA proclamation.
More Regional Groups Express Opposition to Privatized ATC
Feb. 22, 2016
Responding to NBAA's Call to Action, an increasing number of regional aviation groups are publicly expressing their opposition to pending legislation that would transfer control of the ATC system to a private entity outside of congressional oversight. The Call to Action, from NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, came on the heels of the introduction of House ATC-privatization legislation, H.R. 4441. "NBAA members and regional groups in our area answered the call to action in exemplary fashion," added Southeast Regional Representative Greg Voos. Read more about regional groups responding to NBAA's Call to Action.
FAA Reauthorization Battle Intensifies
Feb. 15, 2016
Business Aviation Supporters Nationwide Express Opposition to Privatized ATC Funded By User Fees Acting on a Feb. 8 "Call to Action" by NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, numerous business aviation groups around the country are asking their members to contact lawmakers about opposing a plan to privatize ATC and fund it with user fees, which is being proposed as part of the FAA reauthorization bill (HR 4441). Groups as diverse as the New Mexico Municipal League, the Teterboro (NJ) Users Group, the Eastern Region Helicopter Council and regional business aviation groups from coast to coast are asking their members for support. NBAA’s online Contact Congress tool makes it easy to send personalized emails and tweets to federal representatives. Read more about support for NBAA’s Call to Action/
FAA Reauthorization Battle Intensifies
Feb. 1, 2016
The most significant change in U.S. aviation history is being proposed – a privatized ATC system funded by user fees – and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen urges members to act now and make their voices heard. "We have seen privatized systems in other parts of the world that have restricted access, that have given priority to commercial operations over non-commercial operations, that have effectively eroded small-town access to major finance centers," Bolen said, adding that such a system in this country, "has the potential to be devastating for business aviation." Bolen again urged stakeholders to use NBAA's Contact Congress online resource and ask lawmakers to oppose any proposal for privatization. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan for more on the threat of ATC privatization.
Editorial: ATC Privatization Poses Risks to Smaller Communities
Jan. 21, 2016
Business aviation advocates across the country are reaching out to the media to expose the threat that proposed ATC privatization poses to the industry. One such letter, written by Colorado businessman Iver Retrum, refutes a pro-ATC privatization editorial that he noted "unfortunately painted a rosy picture of privatization based on foreign models that would be far from reality for small businesses, consumers and communities across our state." In addition to engaging with local media, concerned industry stakeholders may utilize numerous NBAA resources to voice their concerns with their congressmen and senators, such as Contact Congress, NBAA's quick, convenient online advocacy tool. Learn more about the threat of proposed ATC privatization.
Bolen’s Year-Opening Message: Engage Congress on FAA Reauthorization
Jan. 18, 2016
"A critical moment in the battle against a privatized ATC system funded by user fees is upon us." That was the message NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen recently delivered in separate presentations to NBAA’s Leadership Council, more than 200 members of the Chicago Area Business Aviation Association, and also to a meeting of 45 local and regional business aviation group leaders. As a March 31 deadline for FAA reauthorization approaches, Bolen encouraged all business aviation stakeholders to ask their federal legislators to oppose ATC privatization funded by user fees. "Don’t wait," Bolen said. "It’s better to get a dialog started now so we have established relationships" with members of Congress prior to the vote. Read more about Bolen's message to local leaders.
NBAA Members Meet with Lawmakers to Voice Concerns on ATC Reform
Jan. 13, 2016
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-4-KS) last week hosted NBAA member companies from Kansas and elsewhere to discuss the industry concerns about proposed legislation to privatize the ATC system and fund it with user fees. Proposals for doing that have been put forward as part of the debate underway in Washington over reauthorization of the FAA. "The current proposals to privatize our nation's air traffic control system represent the most significant threat to the future of general aviation I have seen in over four decades in the industry," said Russ Meyer, chairman emeritus with Cessna Aircraft Company. "At the invitation of Rep. Pompeo, nearly two dozen leaders from the Kansas aviation community flew to Washington, D.C. to underscore our grave concerns." Read more about the meeting between members and legislators.
NBAA Counters Pro-ATC Privatization Op-Ed with Facts
Jan. 8, 2016
As it has with every previous proposal for creating a privatized ATC system funded by user fees, NBAA actively opposes current such proposals, which have recently been put forward as part of the debate over FAA reauthorization. In a Jan. 7 Miami Herald submission, authored by NBAA COO Steve Brown, which pointed out the flaws in an earlier op-ed lauding the UK’s privatized system as a model for the U.S. to emulate. "Even under the rosiest case scenario, the lessons of the UK’s system can’t, and shouldn’t, be applied broadly to the U.S.," said Brown, a former FAA deputy administrator, who highlighted several troubling aspects of the UK system. Read more of NBAA's latest response to calls for ATC privatization.
Battle on ATC Privatization Funded By User Fees Looms on Capitol Hill
Jan. 4, 2016
The new year is already shaping up to be an important one for the business aviation industry. Lawmakers have a March 31 deadline to reauthorize the FAA and proposals for creating a privatized ATC funded through user fees remain front and center. "The whole idea of privatization is a major concern, but it has a lot of momentum right now," noted NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "It's something that our community is going to need to really step forward and express our views on. We have shown that when our community gets active, gets engaged, gets mobilized we can reach our elected officials, and we can shape and influence the public debate." Learn more about the upcoming fight against ATC privatization in this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast.
New Mexico Group Asks Lawmakers to Oppose ATC Privatization
Nov. 30, 2015
The New Mexico Airport Managers' Association (NMAMA) has written its state's congressional leaders asking them to oppose proposals to privatize the nation's aircraft control system. In the letter dated Nov. 24, and signed by NMAMA President Robert Hudson, the association expressed its concern that proposals to transfer oversight of the ATC system from the FAA to private entities "...will lead to a system of user fees that will be detrimental to aviation interests." Read more about the NMAMA's letter to lawmakers.
Grassroots Meeting Underscores Industry's Concern Over Privatized ATC Funded By User Fees
Nov. 9, 2015
A Nov. 2 meeting with Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), hosted by NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and a representative group of Kansas-based NBAA Member Companies, including operators, FBOs, manufacturers, airports and universities, highlighted the business aviation community's concerns about recent proposals for creating a privatized ATC system funded with user fees. The meeting between Bolen, the NBAA Members and Moran took place in the general aviation terminal at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport in Kansas City. MO. Moran requested the meeting to have an opportunity to hear the general aviation community’s concerns first-hand, as Congress considers legislative options as part of the FAA reauthorization debate. Read more about the meeting between Moran and the business aviation community.
Local Efforts Needed to Support Business Aviation in FAA Reauthorization Battle
Nov. 9, 2015
With a battle underway over FAA reauthorization that includes proposals for creating a privatized air traffic control system funded by user fees, local and regional groups should be prepared to take a grassroots approach to helping ensure business aviation interests are represented in the debate. "The local and regional group organizations, their influence, their word, their voices carry a lot of weight," said Don Hitch, chairman of NBAA's Local and Regional Group Committee. Learn more about the need for a local approach to weighing in on the FAA reauthorization debate in this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast.
President's Perspective: A Snapshot of Business Aviation at Year's End
Nov. 6, 2015
One of the top agenda items at NBAA2015 will be the upcoming FAA reauthorization bill, and protecting business aviation’s interests by opposing any plans to privatize ATC through user fees. "As the FAA reauthorization debate continues, we must be vigilant, proactive and resilient in advocating for business aviation, making clear to everyone how important our industry is to citizens, companies and communities across the nation," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "NBAA will continue this work, and I'm confident we will be able to count on your support." Read the full President's Perspective column from the November/December 2015 issue of Business Aviation Insider.
Industry Says 'No' to Privatized ATC System Funded by User Fees
Sept. 28, 2015
When NBAA recently issued a call to action asking Members and other industry stakeholders to tell elected officials that they oppose any legislation that would create a privatized ATC system funded by user fees, the response was significant. "Obviously, everyone in business aviation understands what is at stake," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen in his "President's Perspective" column in Business Aviation Insider. "If we were to find ourselves in an operating environment in which we do not have affordable, predictable, safe, secure and timely access to airports and airspace, business aviation's very existence would be threatened. Read the full Business Aviation Insider column.
Bolen Updates Cincinnati-Area Aviators on FAA Reauthorizations
Sept. 21, 2015
Business aircraft operators and handlers from three states met in Cincinnati, OH on Sept. 18 to focus on working together as an industry, and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen was on hand to provide an update on Washington, DC regulatory and political developments. Bolen discussed aircraft emissions and climate policy, unmanned aircraft systems and FAA reauthorization at the second annual Cincinnati Business Aviation Symposium (2015CBAS), which was held at Northern Kentucky University and hosted by Reynolds Jet. Bolen’s participation in the symposium is the latest in a series of visits across the country by NBAA senior leaders to report on the Association’s advocacy work. Read more of Bolen's comments from 2015CBAS.
Summer Offers Advocacy Opportunities for Opposing ATC Privatization Funded By User Fees
Aug. 3, 2015
As congressional lawmakers head home for a traditional summer recess, NBAA Members have an opportunity to build on a "Call to Action" response from those who have been contacting their representatives in unprecedented numbers regarding proposals under discussion in Washington for creating a privatized air traffic control system funded by user fees. "This is a good time to keep up the message," said NBAA Vice President for Government Affairs Christa Fornarotto. "And there's really no better way to do that than through personal contact." Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more on summer advocacy efforts.
Business Aviation Groups Nationwide Say 'No' to ATC Privatization Funded By User Fees
July 13, 2015
NBAA staff recently went to Capitol Hill and hand-delivered letters from a host of local business aviation organizations, each bearing a succinct message to elected officials: say "No!" to a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system funded by user fees. The letters came from regional aviation groups from across the country, and were provided to the offices of congressional representatives from Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington. Those groups are among many industry stakeholders who heeded NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen's recent Call to Action over proposals under discussion for creating a privatized ATC system funded by user fees. Read more about the industry's response to NBAA's Call to Action.
Bolen Reiterates NBAA Opposition to Privatized ATC System at Major Washington Event
July 10, 2015
During a symposium on air traffic control reform held last week in Washington, DC, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen reminded industry stakeholders that the business aviation community has concerns about a legislative proposal to convert the U.S. air traffic control (ATC) system into a privatized system funded by user fees. Participating in a panel discussion at the Air Traffic Control Symposium on Organizational Reform Options, Bolen said, "The U.S. has the largest, safest, most diverse, complex and efficient system in the world. We need to have a system that preserves the diversity of our airspace. The U.S. airspace is public and should be operated to its benefit." Read more about Bolen's remarks against a privatized ATC system at the symposium.
House Postpones Introduction of FAA Reauthorization Bill
July 6, 2015
Congressional leaders announced July 1 that they have delayed the anticipated introduction of a proposed House FAA reauthorization bill. Industry stakeholders, including NBAA, expected the measure to be released last week. The bill would reportedly have outlined plans for creating a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system funded with user fees. "This latest development presents additional time for NBAA Members and other general aviation stakeholders to share their thoughts with their elected representatives," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. Read more about FAA reauthorization.
NBAA Call to Action Prompts Strong Industry Response to ATC Privatization, User Fees
July 6, 2015
Thousands of concerned industry stakeholders have made their voices heard since NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen issued a Call to Action for NBAA Members to contact their elected representatives over looming proposals to create a private air traffic control system, funded through user fees. Bolen issued the Call to Action on June 25 in response to a renewed call for aviation user fees by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-9-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "Within the first 24 hours, thousands of Members had used NBAA's Contact Congress resource to send letters to their elected representatives in nearly every state," Bolen noted. Read more about NBAA's Call to Action.
FAA Reauthorization News Archives
- June 24, 2015
- Bolen Again Warns: ‘Harmful’ House FAA Bill Likely Coming
- June 22, 2015
- Bolen: Rep. Shuster's Remarks Foreshadow ‘Troubling’ House FAA Billg
- June 18, 2015
- At NATA Event, Bolen Outlines Concerns With Congressman's FAA Proposals
- February 15, 2012
- President Obama Signs FAA Reauthorization Bill into Law
- February 6, 2012
- NBAA Hails Senate Passage of FAA Reauthorization
- February 3, 2012
- NBAA Welcomes House Passage of FAA Reauthorization
- October 9, 2011
- Sen. Begich Speaks Out Against User Fees
- September 23, 2011
- Industry United in Thwarting Latest User Fee Threat
- July 25, 2011
- FAA Shutdown Not Disrupting Business Aviation
- May 9, 2011
- Babbitt Discusses Need For Final FAA Reauthorization Bill
- April 4, 2011
- House Approves FAA Reauthorization Bill
- March 28, 2011
- Aviation Coalition Renews Call for FAA Reauthorization Passage
- February 9, 2011
- NBAA Tells House Subcommittee: FAA Reauthorization Vital to Jobs, Economic Growth
- January 31, 2011
- House, Senate Leaders Say FAA Reauthorization A Top Priority
- January 21, 2011
- NBAA Welcomes Congressional Letter to White House Urging 'No User Fees'
- July 30, 2010
- Congress Extends FAA Authorization, Adds Safety Provisions
- May 10, 2010
- Industry Letter: NextGen Planning Should Include [All] Stakeholders
- May 3, 2010
- Congress Approves FAA Extension Through July 3
- May 3, 2010
- General Aviation is Committed to Safety, System Modernization, and Expanded Capacity
- April 8, 2010
- Business Aviation Active in 'NextGen' Dialogue at Key Washington Conference
- September 20, 2009
- NBAA and Others Tell Congress: NextGen Will Grow Jobs
- February 9, 2009
- Industry Groups Support Tranisition to Next Generation ATC System