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Sully mobilizes pilots against ATC privatization

Former US Airways pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, made famous along with First Officer Jeffrey Skiles for their successful ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in 2009, is taking a very public stand against the legislative push air traffic control privatization (H.R. 2997)—and he’s asking pilots to join him.

Sullenberger’s aviation career has spanned more than 50 years and includes general aviation, military, and airline experience.

In a 31-second ad available at, Sullenberger says that privatizing ATC would hand “control to the largest airlines, giving them the keys to the kingdom.”

As AOPA has noted, this push for privatization is a push for monopolization. A private entity dominated by the airlines and their employee groups would be created to run the ATC system. The public, through Congress, would have no sway over the entity.

Sullenberger contends that privatizing ATC “would allow a corporate monopoly to make decisions that put profits ahead of safety and would devastate rural communities.”

He concludes that such a move would be a “threat to our nation’s security, safety, access, and basic fairness.”

AOPA members are encouraged to share the ad with their friends, family, fellow aviators to help spread the word about the threat ATC privatization poses to GA. In addition, members are urged to write and call their member of Congress to tell them to vote no on H.R. 2997. AOPA has created a call-to-action web page to make it quick and easy to contact Congress. A toll-free number (855/383-7330) is also available for pilots to learn more about the issue and be connected to their representative after entering their zip code.

Alyssa J. Miller
Alyssa J. Cobb
The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: Advocacy, Capitol Hill, ATC

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