April 24, 2018 — Unable to convince Congress to support a corporate giveaway of the nation’s air traffic control system through the usual lawmaking channels, supporters of ATC privatization instead have slipped a provision into the House’s FAA reauthorization bill that would set the stage for airline domination of the ATC system. EAA members are once again called to action and urged to contact their congressional representatives as soon as possible to oppose the plan.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) — the primary author of the withdrawn ATC privatization measure — inserted a “manager’s amendment” to the bill (H.R. 4) that would create an advisory council dominated by the big airlines and composed of the same players that would be part of the previously withdrawn ATC privatization proposal. A major difference is that this council would be under control of the Department of Transportation, not the FAA, and would not be subject to any public input.
“This is a devious, backroom maneuver after public and congressional opinion showed to be solidly against ATC privatization and caused the withdrawal of the original bill,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO & chairman of the board. “This is reckless, punitive policymaking that circumvents any public input. We believe that was exactly the intent of this amendment at this time.”
EAA and other general aviation organizations immediately issued a letter to House leadership and members, urging them to drop Section 5 of Shuster’s amendment to H.R. 4 — the provision that includes the advisory council.
In addition, EAA is urging its members to immediately contact their House representatives to oppose the amendment by calling them as soon as possible, as the bill may be considered as early as Wednesday, April 25. Use EAA’s Rally Congress website or the ATCNotForSale.com website to contact your congressional representatives immediately.
“This type of shady politics is exactly why EAA remained vigilant as the FAA reauthorization bill was taking shape,” Pelton said. “We must react immediately so an ATC privatization stage is not set through a so-called ‘advisory council’ dominated by the nation’s largest airlines.”