The Honorable Trent Lott
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senator Lott:
Thank you for your longstanding support of general aviation. I am writing to you on behalf of the 400,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, 2,300 of whom reside in Mississippi. As you and your colleagues conference on the FAA reauthorization bill, I urge you to support language to prohibit air traffic control privatization.
AOPA is extremely concerned about the administration's recent categorization of air traffic services as "commercial" rather than "inherently governmental." This change makes air traffic control (ATC) services susceptible to wholesale outsourcing or privatization—something AOPA is adamantly against. Our members have a longstanding concern that general aviation will suffer under the weight of costly fees and that services will be governed by and designed solely to meet the needs of the commercial airlines. You only need look at the expense of flying in Europe under Eurocontrol and its impact on general aviation to see the future if ATC is not kept as an inherently governmental function.
For this reason, AOPA supports efforts to prohibit ATC privatization. While the language varies between the Senate and House passed bills, our members have made it clear—keep ATC as a function operated by the FAA!
As the House and Senate come to agreement on the FAA reauthorization, we ask you to ensure that language is included that keeps ATC separation and control functions with the FAA. It is essential that any final language not touch the "core" air traffic control functions.
Again, thank you for your work on the future of a vibrant general aviation community.
July 15, 2003