Washington, DC, April 19, 2016 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomed today's passage by the U.S. Senate of a bill to reauthorize funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that includes important, targeted solutions to identified challenges, but without language for creating a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, overseen by an airline-centric board of directors and funded through onerous new user fees.
The legislation, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, was introduced on March 9, and reported out by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on March 16.
"On behalf of NBAA's more than 10,000 member companies, we applaud this bipartisan step toward implementing a smart, targeted approach to funding the FAA’s efforts to modernize what is already the world's safest ATC system, without going down the dangerous path of turning our ATC system over to a private board," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
The bill, H.R.636, includes measures, widely supported by the broad aviation community, for streamlining the certification process for aviation technologies, raising the bar on aviation safety, integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System and accelerating implementation of a Next Generation ("NextGen") air traffic management system. The bill also provides a plan for the U.S. Department of Transportation to modernize third-class medical requirements for pilots of small general aviation aircraft.
The Senate bill’s House counterpart (H.R.4441), introduced in early February, also contains many positive elements that reflect a consensus within the aviation community; unfortunately, the bill includes a risky provision for creating a privatized ATC system funded through new user fees and overseen by an airline-dominated board of directors.
Bolen urged the general aviation community to continue to use NBAA's online Contact Congress resource to reach out to elected officials, to support the continued advancement of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill.