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Take a stand against ATC privatization

AOPA asks members to speak out

AOPA is asking members to contact their members of Congress to oppose air traffic control privatization. “The time is now,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. “We’ve faced privatization battles before, but with support from the president and a nearly unified airline assault for control of the nation’s air traffic control system, now is the time when we must unite to oppose this far-reaching threat.”

FAA funding runs out September 30, and both the U.S. House and Senate have proposed plans to keep the agency running. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the AIRR Act (H.R. 2997), which would privatize air traffic control, on June 27. That bill is now under consideration for a vote in the House.

Baker encouraged pilots and aviation enthusiasts to speak out. “It’s important that all our members join us in standing up for general aviation and protecting our freedom to fly,” said Baker. “We support modernization, not privatization,” Baker continued, noting that privatization proponents often say that the slow progress of air traffic upgrades is a reason to remove the system from government oversight. However, the airlines themselves often are the slowest to adopt modern technology. “Turning over ATC to a private corporation managed by the airlines will lead to a decline in rural access and will damage GA, as we have seen in every nation that has tried it before.”

“I’m asking AOPA members now to call, write, email, and visit their members of Congress over the Fourth of July holiday recess and in the coming weeks. Your member of Congress may not have much awareness of this bill yet. Educate them and tell them you oppose ATC privatization,” Baker urged.

AOPA’s draft letter for members says, “The 21st Century AIRR Act would bring uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired outcomes. A privatization proposal that requires protections for a large and important segment of aviation (general aviation) is fundamentally flawed.”

The letter also expresses support for improvements to the air traffic control system and that the billions that would be spent on privatization would be better used to modernize and improve the existing system.

The Senate was expected to debate amendments to its FAA bill June 28.

Joe Kildea
Joe Kildea
AOPA Senior Director of Communications
Joe is a student pilot and his first solo flight was at AOPA’s home airport in Frederick, Maryland. Before joining AOPA in 2015, he worked for numerous political campaigns, news organizations, and the White House Press Office.
Topics: Advocacy, FAA Funding, Capitol Hill

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