April 25, 2018 — A rapid response by the general aviation community on Tuesday made a big difference in helping to eliminate a dangerous amendment to an FAA reauthorization bill in the House of Representatives.
Supporters of ATC privatization attempted to slip a provision into the House’s FAA reauthorization bill that would set the stage for airline domination of the ATC system. EAA members swiftly responded to a call for action and urged to contact their congressional representatives to oppose the plan.
“Thank you to each and every one of you who reacted and responded quickly to eliminate this attempt at backroom politics that could harm GA,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board. “This again showed the strong voice of general aviation when we respond in a unified effort.”
EAA learned late Tuesday evening that the threatening provisions within a “manager’s amendment” to the bill (H.R. 4) had been eliminated. That language would have created an advisory council dominated by the big airlines and composed of the same players that would be part of the previously withdrawn ATC privatization proposal.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 was that the council would be under control of the Department of Transportation, not the FAA, and would not be subject to any public input.
Another provision would have allowed the DOT and the advisory council to select the Chief Operating Officer for the air traffic organization. That would have circumvented the authority of the FAA Administrator to make that choice.
EAA and other general aviation organizations immediately issued a letter to House leadership and members, urging them to drop Section 5 of Rep. Shuster’s amendment to H.R. 4 — the provision that included the advisory council. In addition, EAA called on its members to contact their House representatives to oppose the amendment, especially through the EAA Rally Congress website.
“Although this threat has been stopped, we will continue to be very vigilant as FAA reauthorization works its way through Congress, giving FAA stable funding for the next five years and allowing it to continue its modernization efforts,” Pelton said. “The freedom and safety of flight is something we will protect at all times.”