FAA Reauthorization and Modernization

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Updated Jan. 27, 2016

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is once again up for reauthorization by Congress. It is expected that any proposed legislation would include privatization of the air traffic control system, funded by user fees on general aviation. The legislation would also turn over governance of the FAA to a self-interested "board," to determine when companies using business aviation can fly, how much it will cost to do so, and what type of payment would be demanded of operators.

Privatized systems in foreign countries are funded with user fees that require a new bureaucracy of billing agents, collectors and auditors. They impose a huge administrative burden on those who have to pay the fees to operate in what is effectively a monopoly system. General aviation in the U.S. has always contributed to the aviation system through fuel taxes that are easily collected and efficiently administered, and should continue to do so.

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.

Privatizing our air traffic control system could jeopardize these jobs and economic activity by threatening general aviation access to airports and airspace, and NBAA is working hard to ensure general aviation's voice is heard as the debate continues on the best way to move forward.

The deadline for reauthorizing the FAA is March 31, 2016.

Latest News

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.

Key GA Provisions of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act

March 21, 2012

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 not only provides necessary, long-term authorization to ensure the U.S. air transportation system remains the largest, safest and most efficient in the world. The act impacts a wide variety of aviation programs, including general avaition (GA). NBAA has develeped an analysis document of key provisions in the act, inlcuding the following:

Multi-Year Authorization Authorizes the Federal Aviation Administration from date of enactment through the end of FY 2015. Because the bill covers multiple years it will provide much needed predictability and stability to FAA programs.

Funding Levels

Authorizes FAA at approximately current funding levels (not adjusted for inflation) through the duration of the bill.

No New User Fees

Does not establish any new operational user fees on any segment of aviation.

GA Fuel Taxes Largely Unchanged

Does not impose any new per flight taxes nor does it change existing fuel tax rates for most Part 91 and Part 135 flights. It does, however, change the tax structure for Part 91subpart K (fractional) flights by treating such flights as non-commercial. As a result of this change, which has been a priority for fractional operators for many years, fractional flights will now be subject to a 14.1 cents per gallon fuel surcharge on the existing GA fuel tax rather than the previous commercial taxes. Also, after March 31, 2012, the Federal Excise Tax exemption for aircraft under 6,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight not operating on an established line will no longer apply to jet aircraft.


Directs FAA, in coordination with NASA, to continue R&D activities regarding the transition to unleaded fuel for piston powered aircraft.

Foreign Repair Stations

Establishes an annual inspection program for stations located outside the US. consistent with current treaties and agreements.

Stage II Phase-Out

Allows Stage II aircraft weighing less than 75,000 lbs. to continue to operate in the United States until Jan. 1, 2016. The original Stage II legislation introduced in 2004 would have phased out Stage II aircraft under 75,000 in 2007. Operations of Stage II aircraft over 75,000 lbs were ended in 2000.

Charity Flights

Permits the reimbursement of aircraft owners/operators conducting charity flights.

Judicial Review

Provides judicial review of NTSB decisions affecting airmen certificates.

Download the Full Analysis Document (126KB, PDF)

ters from the chairman or president of the group," said NBAA's Director Regional Programs Steve Hadley. Shelly deZevallos, president of Texans for General Aviation was among those who responded, and she urged others to do so too. "Call [your congressman], voice your concern, speak to their office let them know why you're against it. It will impact safety. It will

FAA Reauthorization News Archives

July 13, 2015
NBAA Flight Plan Podcast: Regional, Local Business Aviation Groups Answer NBAA's 'Call to Action'
July 10, 2015
Bolen Reiterates NBAA Opposition to Privatized ATC System at Major Washington Event
July 6, 2015
House Postpones Introduction of FAA Reauthorization Bill
July 6, 2015
NBAA Call to Action Prompts Strong Industry Response to ATC Privatization, User Fees
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