With a Sept. 30 funding deadline rapidly approaching and no consensus on the so-called “privatization” of air traffic control, the House plans to vote next week on a short-term, six-month extension of the FAA's ability to operate.
The extension does not include provisions supported by the airlines that would remove ATC from the FAA. However, a White House adviser told an airline industry conference in Washington, D.C., last week that a House floor vote was planned in early October on the controversial legislation.
“The proposal is fundamentally flawed. It won’t reduce delays, reduce air fares, or speed up modernization of our ATC system, which is the safest in the world, and it won’t be good for small airports and rural communities across the country,” said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jim Coon. “A few people in Washington may support this idea but most folks outside of Washington are strongly opposed. It’s not privatization first of all, there’s is no innovation or competitive bidding here. It’s simply a total giveaway to the airlines and special interests and if you think that is good for GA, then we need to talk. The proposal has divided Congress and the aviation industry, and because of all the arm twisting going on in Washington, it is more important than ever that we call our representatives in the House and tell them to oppose H.R. 2997.”
Causes across the political spectrum also oppose the ATC bill, H.R. 2997, including many conservative organizations. On Sept. 7, the American Conservative Union Foundation announced seven principles for privatization, and their analysis found the air traffic proposal failed their test and “misses completely when it comes to the actual transfer of power from public to private hands.”
AOPA is asking members, pilots, and supporters to continue to contact their representatives in the House by calling 855/383-7330 or visiting AOPA’s call-to-action page. To donate to AOPA’s advocacy fund, please visit the website. The fundraising campaign is a joint project with other aviation associations, large and small, to educate the public about the downside of giving away our ATC system to the airlines. Among other things, the funds are used to air a video interview by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger of "Miracle on the Hudson" fame. The experienced pilot opposes the bill.