March 16, 2017 - An endorsement for the privatization of air traffic control was included in a budget proposal released by the White House on Thursday morning, a move that would put the future of general aviation and its long-term access to the National Airspace System at risk.
Shortly after, EAA CEO and Chairman Jack J. Pelton released a statement in strong opposition to the proposal, which is similar to the ATC privatization proposal introduced last year in Congress.
“Under such a system, ATC would be overseen and managed by a board made up of commercial interests, with the nation’s airlines having the most powerful and numerous voices,” Pelton said. “These interests would inevitably drown out whatever token representation and economic impact GA would have on such a board, creating an ATC system that would serve commercial interests with the greatest financial resources.”
This is a critical issue for the survival of general aviation. With the powerful voices of the airlines pushing to lower the price tag of their access to the nation’s airspace, much of the funding for a privatized system would be reliant on general aviation users.
Transfer of ATC oversight from the FAA to a private corporation would also likely impact funding for infrastructure improvements at rural airports, such as towers and instrument landing facilities, with financial resources instead being directed to the urban centers serviced frequently by airlines.
EAA is already deeply involved in conversations on Capitol Hill to ensure ATC continues to serve general aviation equally in the national airspace system. We are looking to the GA community to stay engaged on this issue as we work to provide next steps toward defeating privatization.