April 22, 2003
Following an intense Capitol Hill campaign, bipartisan legislation to keep air traffic control (ATC) in government hands is now pending in Congress. AOPA has spoken in favor of this legislation.
The White House Office of Management and Budget had declared ATC a "commercial activity," opening the possibility that ATC operations could be turned over to private contractors. Such a move could ultimately lead to a private corporation running the nation's air traffic control and charging user fees.
During Capitol Hill testimony earlier this month, AOPA President Phil Boyer called for legislation declaring ATC an "inherently governmental" function. "According to the OMB itself," Boyer noted, "inherently governmental functions are those 'so intimately related to the public interest as to mandate performance by federal employees.' We believe that air traffic control meets the definition of 'inherently governmental.'"
Republican representatives Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.), and Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) have joined James Oberstar (D-Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), senior Democrat on the aviation subcommittee, to introduce a bill declaring that air traffic control (ATC) is an inherently government function.
Citing poor results in countries that have tried privatized ATC, Rep. DeFazio said, "We can't afford to contract out the safety of the flying public to the lowest bidder."
Fellow sponsor Rep. Quinn added, "It is imperative that our air traffic controllers continue to serve as a federal government entity."
The Air Traffic Control System Integrity Act of 2003 (H.R.1711) is a companion piece to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).
"I am encouraged to see a commitment by key leaders in both chambers of Congress to prevent any movement toward that end," said Boyer.
AOPA and the Massachusetts Airport Management Association defeat an effort to cut $34 million from the Massachusetts transportation bond bill.
Engine overhauler Penn Yan Aero announced that it is extending the warranties on overhauled and experimental aircraft engines, effective immediately.
Dinners at Waypoint Café at California's Camarillo Airport will have an outside dining option to watch airplanes and helicopters take off and land, and learn more about general aviation in the process.
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