AOPA, along with some 145 other aviation organizations, is gearing up for the next round in the battle to stop the so-called privatization of air traffic control. With Congress back in session this week, Rep. Bill Shuster, the airlines, and other supporters of H.R. 2997, the 21st Century AIRR Act, will be blasting the airways and pounding the halls of Congress attempting to drum up support for the bill, which would remove ATC from the FAA and turn it over to the airlines.
While the airlines are kicking off a major media campaign in Washington, D.C., the general aviation coalition is garnering support and launching a fundraising campaign to raise money and air an interview with Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, who, along with First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, ditched the aircraft on the Hudson River in 2009, saving all 150 souls on board. Sullenberger, who recorded the video without any compensation, said privatization would be a “threat to our nation’s security, safety, access, and basic fairness.” As a national hero and pilot for more than 50 years, with a background in airlines, the military, and GA, who better to be the spokesperson against ATC privatization than Sullenberger?
AOPA has been very vocal in its opposition to ATC privatization, and recently, AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker participated in interviews on two conservative radio shows, The Larry Elder Show and The Michael Medved Show, to discuss the severe consequences the legislation would have on GA. When asked why privatization would be a menace to GA, Baker said “handing it off to a board of 13 generally airline-centric individuals with commercial interests” would be wrong.
The time leading up to the House vote on H.R. 2997 is critical. To donate to AOPA’s advocacy fund, please visit the website.This fundraising campaign is a united effort among all sectors of aviation associations and those representing rural communities with the goal to stop ATC privatization and continue to protect the freedom to fly for all.