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Trump proposes ATC privatization

The White House proposed privatizing air traffic control in a budget outline released March 16. The plan would “shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-government organization.”

Air traffic control tower photo by Mike Fizer.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the proposal is “going nowhere in the Senate.”

“AOPA will review the details of the president’s proposal when they are made available," said AOPA President Mark Baker, "and we will continue to oppose efforts to impose user fees on any segment of general aviation."

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed legislation last year that would have privatized air traffic control and imposed user fees on Part 135 charter operations based outside Alaska and Hawaii. The proposal was supported by some major airlines and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, but it failed to make it to the House floor amid strong bipartisan criticism.

Those criticisms have continued.

Last month, the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee sent a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Nelson opposing privatization.

More recently, Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, sent a letter raising a number of concerns to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who has led recent efforts on Capitol Hill to privatize air traffic control. Norquist wrote that Shuster’s plan could result in “increased economic and financial burdens,” and he also questioned provisions designed “to appease union interests.”

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, Capitol Hill, ATC

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