EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (February 10, 2016) — The Experimental Aircraft Association continued its strong opposition to any plan to move the nation’s air traffic control services to private or corporate governance, as the 190,000-member organization submitted a statement to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as part of that committee’s hearing on the Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2016 (H.R. 4441).
As part of the full statement that was included in the House committee hearing’s official record, EAA also advanced a plan that would annually fund more than 90 percent of the FAA’s current and future budgets through the excise taxes already collected from users of the national airspace system.
“ATC privatization is simply a bad idea on many levels; it will not solve the FAA’s funding dilemma and will create a substantial number of new problems and challenges that would cripple general aviation,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman. “Although the bill contains some items that would be beneficial to grassroots aviators, those benefits are overwhelmed by the ominous consequences of a corporatized ATC system without direct federal authority and oversight. Such an ATC privatization plan is simply not acceptable as a part of any FAA reauthorization, especially when there are simple, common-sense ways to solve FAA’s funding issue.”
EAA’s strong opposition is based on a large number of factors, including:
- A privatized ATC system would take services away from federal oversight and place it in the hands of a board controlled by those with the greatest financial resources;
- Threats to access and services for general aviation and rural airports without commercial service;
- An ATC board weighted toward airlines and commercial aviation, creating conflicts of interest;
- Loss of FAA control over safety oversight, while creating a large parallel bureaucracy;
- Creation of a congressionally mandated monopoly managed by private interests;
- Unlimited civil and tort liability for a new ATC corporation, which could financially cripple such a system.
“It is not as simple as scaling up systems used in Canada or Europe, given the enormously larger traffic and complexity of the American airspace system,” Pelton added. “EAA’s plan would enable the FAA to maintain the world’s safest air traffic control system while having the funding it needs to modernize.”
EAA’s plan would use current excise taxes to fund more than 90 percent of the annual FAA budget and air traffic control services. A small contribution (less than 10 percent of the FAA budget) would come from the federal general fund as recognition of the air system’s importance to all Americans.
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