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Wall Street Journal Publishes NBAA’s Challenge to Pro-ATC Privatization Editorial

Oct. 23, 2017

When The Wall Street Journal published an editorial supporting a House bill containing ATC privatization, while making allegations about NBAA’s opposition to the concept, the association was quick to respond.

In a letter jointly signed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, “Almost no one, other than the airlines, their paid lobbyists and their front groups,” supports the legislation. Those voices support the House bill, the letter continues, because, “It’s a give-away that offers the airlines their long-sought moment to obtain sweeping authority to set revenue rates and control the aviation system, and focus on what best serves their bottom line.”

Read the letter as it appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

Letter: ATC Privatization Won’t Fix U.S. Air-Travel

The Congressional Budget Office concludes privatization would increase the nation’s deficit by $100 billion over 10 years.

Regarding your editorial “An Air-Traffic Winner” (Oct. 11): The Congressional Research Service says the air-traffic control (ATC) privatization bill is likely unconstitutional. The Congressional Budget Office concludes it would increase the nation’s deficit by $100 billion over 10 years. The Government Accountability Office says a transition to a new entity would most likely slow down aviation modernization.

Consumer groups are up in arms over this concept, including the National Consumers League, Consumer Action and FlyersRights.org. Organizations on the political left and right, including the American Conservative Union, have raised concerns. Airport groups and aviation-safety experts, including Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger, oppose the House bill.

Survey after survey, most recently one conducted by CNBC, shows that Americans overwhelmingly oppose ATC privatization. Almost no one, other than the airlines, their paid lobbyists and their front groups, think this is a good idea. They support the House bill because it’s a giveaway that offers the airlines their long-sought moment to obtain sweeping authority to set revenue rates and control the aviation system, and focus on what best serves their bottom line. Of course, this is the same group whose ancient computer systems routinely ground thousands of passengers, whose customer service has left Americans gasping and have cut service to small towns and rural communities by over 20% in recent years.

Let’s not confuse so-called ATC privatization with modernization.

Mark Baker
President and CEO
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association
Washington