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GA Groups Warn: ATC Privatization a Threat to the Future of General Aviation

July 27, 2017

During this week’s Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh event, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen, and leaders of several other general aviation groups, united to remind attendees that legislation to privatize the nation’s ATC system – H.R. 2997 – poses a serious threat to the future of general aviation, and to AirVenture itself.

NBAA and other GA groups oppose privatization, which would turn control of the ATC system – currently overseen by the public’s elected representatives in congress – over to a new entity governed by private interests unaccountable to congressional oversight.

Bolen noted that the major airlines have tried to take control of the ATC system for decades. “Twenty-five years later, that’s still true, and that’s embodied in this bill, H.R. 2997,” he added.

EAA CEO Jack Pelton warned that events like AirVenture – which draws hundreds of thousands of aviators to Oshkosh, WI each year – could be negatively impacted if H.R. 2997 becomes law.

“If we don’t get up and start making our voices heard very, very loud, this will be the most devastating thing that could happen to AirVenture,” declared Pelton. “You’re going to take an ATC system that works, and hand it to a monopoly that is governed by a nonprofit board of directors who have never managed any ATC system in their life.”

Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said neither his group nor the other ones at the event were asked for their input on the privatization legislation. But their input is being considered now. “Thanks to all of you in the room, they do listen to us,” he said.

General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce said, “It’s critical for everyone to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose H.R. 2997. Over half of the 70,000 flights per day in the U.S. system are general aviation flights, and the proposal in this bill will not protect airspace access and air traffic service for the [GA] industry.”

Several hundred people attended the town hall and were asked to sign a large petition against ATC privatization. Attendees also were told of a toll-free number – 833-GA-VOICE – they can use to contact their representatives and ask them to vote against H.R. 2997.

NBAA has mobilized the business aviation community through its online Contact Congress resource, which provides a means for business aviation advocates to use email and social media to express their opposition to their lawmakers. Use NBAA’s Contact Congress resource to oppose H.R. 2997 today.

Stakeholders can also visit www.atcnotforsale.com for more information.