Yesterday, the White House and Office of Management and Budget, released a sweeping plan to reorganize the federal government. The plan includes a provision that would privatize the air traffic control (ATC) system. In response, NBAA along with AOPA, EAA, GAMA, HAI and NATA issued a statement (see below) strongly opposing the failed privatization proposal.
Capitol Hill also responded quickly in opposition to any efforts that would seek to privatize ATC. Selected news clips summarizing the response from Congress are included below.
While this latest privatization proposal has already met strong opposition in Congress, we will remain vigilant, and work to support the long-term FAA bill passed by the House and now pending in the Senate.
GA Association Press Release
Latest ATC Spinoff Proposal Meets Continued and Heavy Opposition
Washington, DC – Six associations representing the general aviation industry today issued a statement strongly opposing the Trump Administration for including in its government reorganization proposal a failed idea to privatize the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) air traffic control services.
“There is a large and diverse chorus of opposition to the idea of privatizing our air traffic control system, including congressional leaders from both political parties, more than 100 aviation organizations, over 100 business leaders, 100 U.S. mayors, consumer and agricultural groups, conservative think tanks, and the majority of Americans. Additionally, this concept has been fully considered in the U.S. Congress and rejected despite years of repeated attempts,” said the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
“Instead of focusing precious time and resources on what amounts to nothing more than a distraction to the aviation community, the Administration needs to support a long-term FAA bill, like those passed by the House of Representatives and now pending in the Senate. These bills will take practical and significant steps to address many critical issues like aviation safety, modernization, which includes accelerated advancement of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), and needed aircraft certification and regulatory reform. Additionally, the Department of Transportation needs to continue with its commitment to the NextGen Advisory Committee, which fosters collaboration in an open and transparent manner and helps advance air traffic control modernization priorities and investments.
“We are disappointed that the Administration continues to reintroduce a failed proposal. Instead, it should put its weight behind FAA legislation pending in Congress that will advance the aviation industry, including general aviation, which contributes $219 billion to the U.S. economy and creates over one million jobs in the U.S.”
View the complete list of 300 general aviation pilot organizations, state and local aviation officials, airports, manufacturers, labor unions, businesses, management associations and consumer groups that stand united against air traffic control privatization. (PDF)
Reorganization Plan’s Air Traffic Spinoff is DOA in Congress
June 21, 2018 By Shaun Courtney
- Spinoff dropped from House-passed FAA bill earlier this year
- Proposal resurfaced again in OMB report released June 21
An air traffic control spinoff is dead in Congress, regardless of the government’s new proposal from the Office of Management and Budget, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee told Bloomberg Government.
The air traffic control system would no longer fall within Federal Aviation Administration jurisdiction under the Trump administration’s plan, but instead would become a non-profit entity “similar to the Canadian system” the OMB report says. A similar overhaul backed by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) had been proposed as part of House FAA bill (H.R. 4) but didn’t advance for lack of support.
“Isn’t that issue dead?” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) asked when told of the language in the report. Thune is chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FAA.
“If the administration thinks the Senate is going to go along with privatizing the nation’s air traffic control system, they’re wrong,” said a spokesman for committee ranking member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). “That issue has been dead and buried in the Senate for some time now.”
Airspace is ‘Public’
Congressional action would be necessary to move air traffic control from the FAA, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) told a private gathering at Bloomberg Government in the morning just before the report was released. Moran was an outspoken critic of the spinoff effort when it was still in play in the House.
The OMB plan pointed to Canada as a nearby example of a system where air traffic control is operated by a non-governmental body.
“Canada is not even remotely comparable to the volume of air traffic that our country holds,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told Bloomberg Government.
Collins as chairman of the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee has made funding for the NextGen air traffic control modernization project a priority. The funding is meant to address technology needs and enable better airspace management, Collins said.
“I view our airspace as public and appropriate for government control and regulations and not something to be turned over to a private entity,” Collins said.
OMB reorg proposal again floats FAA spinoff
By Brianna Gurciullo,
06/21/2018 01:10 PM EDT
As part of a sweeping government reorganization proposal, the administration is again calling for air traffic control to be separated from the FAA — just months after President Donald Trump put the kibosh on a prominent House bill that would've done just that.
"Spinning FAA air traffic control services out of the government, to a non-profit entity, similar to the Canadian system, has strong policy merits, evidenced by the approximately 60 countries that have shifted air traffic control responsibilities to non-governmental providers," the proposal reads.
Rep. Bill Shuster's bill to separate air traffic control operations from the FAA, H.R. 2997 (115), was shelved after the White House declined to help bring GOP holdouts on board with the bill.
The plan also calls for splitting the Saint Lawrence Seaway lock operations away from the federal government.
In addition, the Trump administration proposes taking the Army Corps of Engineers' civil works division out of the Defense Department and placing it under DOT and the Interior Department. DOT would be responsible for commercial navigation.
The administration also suggests giving DOT, instead of the Coast Guard, control over "permitting alterations to bridges and aids to coastal navigation." And, under the proposal, DOT would take over surface transportation oversight from TSA and the job of administering transit security grants from FEMA.
Finally, the document raises its concern about DOT's Office of the Secretary having "programmatic responsibilities that have traditionally been carried out by operating administrations."
"Executing these programmatic responsibilities while simultaneously performing its more traditional oversight and management functions has been challenging and has stressed OST's organizational structure," it reads, going on to recommend a study that includes "potential alternative structures."