Yesterday, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He warned of the potentially harmful consequences inherent in the creation of a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, funded by user fees, as proposed in H.R. 4441, a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Below the video features Bolen's opening statement.
With the issue moving full steam ahead, NBAA also issued a press release citing some of the points Bolen made in his testimony. The WAA in conjunction with NBAA is encouraging those in the business aviation community to contact their members of Congress, and make their voices heard against ATC privatization funded by user fees.
NBAA's Press Release
Below is an email sent from Ed Bolen, CEO of NBAA, in response to the introduction of the FAA Reauthorization Bill today. More details will be coming in the next day or so. However, this will be a very fast moving initiative with no time to spare. The WAA will continue to update our membership as more details are unveiled, but we appreciate everyone staying engaged and responding quickly.
As anticipated, earlier today, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster introduced his FAA reauthorization bill, H.R. 4441, the Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act of 2016.
Not surprisingly, the legislation calls for the privatization of our nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system. The private ATC system would be overseen by an 11-person board, with the commercial airlines and their pilots directly controlling five seats. General aviation would have two seats, and the remaining seats would be controlled by the Secretary of Transportation and the air traffic controllers. The bill would allow all non-commercial operations to continue to pay through existing fuel taxes; Part 135 operations would be required to pay through new, yet-to-be-defined, user fees.
In short, while the association believes Chairman Shuster’s legislation has some good elements, the proposal’s plan to privatize the ATC system is such a pronounced threat for the future ability of business aviation to fly when and where it needs to, that NBAA is compelled to oppose the legislation. NBAA raised this point in the statement we issued today, which is attached and enclosed below this email.
We expect a hearing on H.R. 4441 to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 10, and for the bill to be “marked up” by the T&I committee on Feb. 11. The Chairman has indicated he hopes to have the bill considered by the full House of Representatives by the end of the month.
Having analyzed the bill and taken a position on it today, NBAA will send a message to the association’s full membership tomorrow, outlining our concerns and providing a means for people to contact their members of Congress in opposition to H.R. 4441.
President and CEO, NBAA
Shuster FAA Reauth Bill altv 020316h (2).pdf
With rich history at our airfield and within our organization, the WAA will be highlighting members throughout the year. These individuals have various backgrounds, but have seen the many colorful cycles of aviation throughout the years. Art Hibler, Senior Aircraft Technician at JP Morgan Chase, has certainly witnessed the growth of the industry over his 43 year career.
As our first person of interest in this new section of our newsletter, the board felt that Art exhibits the many wonderful traits that have kept this airport thriving over the years. Starting his career in 1973 at Combustion Engineering located at Westchester County Airport, he has continued here at KHPN throughout his entire career and has seen the "airport grow from a quieter facility to quite a sophisticated airport."
As a of graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a U.S. Veteran, Art has worked on many aircraft from Sabreliners to Gulfstreams. Retiring in March from JP Morgan Chase after 11 years with the company, he stated the following for future maintenance professionals: "Hone up on your computer skills and avionics training. The more you understand computers, the more successful your career will be."
As shown from left to right: George Bukantis, Al Mangino, Art Hibler and Paul Lauerman
G2, Falcon 10, and Saber 60
A note from our NBAA Representatives:
The US Senate has OFFICIALLY stated its opposition to the FAA Privatization (letter attached). Allegedly, US Representative Shuster of Pennsylvania will have a draft of the Bill by 02 or 03 February with a Mark Up expected on 11 February. In the interim, this is excellent news.
Thank you to all who contacted congress and those who became involved in other ways.
FAA privitization ltr to Commerce 012816.pdf
Below is an email sent from Ed Bolen, CEO of NBAA in response to significant developments in the FAA Reauthorization Bill. WAA encourages you to Contact Congress and oppose a privatized ATC funded with user fees.
In my year-end message to NBAA's membership, I indicated that the battle over a privatized ATC funded with user fees was looming. At this point, the battle has moved from looming to imminent.
News outlets are reporting that leaders on the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee "are eyeing mid-February to mark up an FAA overhaul bill," and that "a House GOP aide said they have been told to get ready for Feb. 11."
In terms of what will be in the bill, House T&I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-9-PA) was quoted as saying that passing an aviation reauthorization bill is "a top priority" and that "he will propose transferring authority over the air traffic control system from the FAA to a new non-profit, non-government entity overseen by aviation industry stakeholders," and "funded with user fees."
Meanwhile, an opinion piece authored by House Representatives and pilots Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and Todd Rokita (R-4-IN) was published yesterday in The Hill newspaper, which appears to support Chairman Shuster's plans for FAA reauthorization. A copy of that opinion piece is attached to this email.
Twenty four hours after the opinion piece was published, a group of 15 general aviation organizations, including NBAA, sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the T&I Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee noting that "the general aviation community has very real and long-standing concerns about foreign air traffic control models, which go well beyond the user fee issue," and calling on the Committee leaders to provide "ample opportunity to carefully review, analyze and debate any proposed legislation changing the governance and funding for air traffic control." A copy of that letter, and the press release sent out accompanying it, are attached.
NBAA continues to keep the industry apprised of important FAA reauthorization developments, and mobilized in voicing our concerns. Last week, I hosted a webinar to provide the latest details; a link to that webinar is here, if you'd like to listen to it:
In addition, we were very active in bringing a delegation of member companies to Washington, DC, to brief members of Congress about our concerns regarding the situation. We produced and posted on our website a write up about the briefing, and a link to that write up is here:
Below are the two documents mentioned above, both the opinion piece and the response letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the T&I Committee and its Aviation Subcommittee.
GA Industry Press Release and Letter FINAL 011916.pdf
The Hill oped 011816.pdf
Congratulations Jeff Lee! Your WAA community is proud of you!
Airport Bulletin #15-10
Effective December 15, 2015 at 00:01 local time, the Westchester County Airport will commence the collection of landing fees for itinerant aircraft operators. The establishment of an itinerant landing fee is designed to ensure that all aircraft operators using the Airport contribute to its economic base, in a fair, and reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.
Aircraft Tenants and Air Carriers having facility and/or operational agreements with the County of Westchester are exempt from landing fees. Furthermore, the landing fee exemption is applicable to any based aircraft operating pursuant to an agreement with an Airport Tenant (such as an FBO), as these aircraft operators also contribute to the economic health of the Airport.
The collection of landing fees will be the responsibility of the FBO's, except for direct billing arrangements with the Airport such as charter operations utilizing the Terminal Building. See attached Itinerant Landing Fee Schedule.
In addition, to express our continued support of Light General Aviation, upon commencement of the Itinerant Landing Fee program, the Avgas Fuel Flowage Fee of $0.165 will be eliminated. If you have any questions or need any additional information please do not hesitate to contact me at 914-995-4856.
As we head into the final days of 2015, the general aviation community has once again been served with a fresh reminder of the very real threat to the industry from a proposal from the airline lobby that would create a privatized Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, funded through user fees, as part of legislation for the upcoming reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Let me explain the situation, and the actions NBAA needs you to take in response.
Earlier this week, in Washington, DC, multiple CEOs from many of the nation's largest airlines gathered with their association president for a press teleconference to call for privatizing ATC and funding it with user fees. If anyone doubted the CEOs' intention, a resulting USA Today headline made it clear: "Airline executives urge privatization of air-traffic control."
The reason for the timing of the airlines' push for this proposal is simple: Congress has just concluded its work on a separate measure for highway funding, and it is likely that FAA reauthorization will be the next major transportation measure taken up by lawmakers.
With an eye toward this scenario, the airlines are readying for the coming battle over ATC privatization funded by user fees, and we must do likewise. The business aviation community must once again also band together in active opposition to such a proposal.
You can do that now, by using NBAA's Contact Congress resource.
Our continued mobilization on this issue is critical - in calling for ATC privatization, the big airlines want nothing less than a system they define and control for their own benefit. Under such a setup, Congress would be stripped of its long-standing authority over aviation-system governance, which safeguards the public's interest, including the companies and small communities that rely on general aviation.
That role would instead be relegated to a self-serving "board" or similar entity, equipped with sweeping authority to make decisions in the airlines' business interests - for example, determinations about where and when companies using business aviation can fly, how much it will cost to do so, which community airports will (or won't) be given priority, and what type of payment, including user fees, will be demanded of operators.
As NBAA members know, I have been raising concerns about this matter for some time, in testimony before Congressional lawmakers, and in policy forums hosted by such diverse interests as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Air Traffic Controllers Association. NBAA members, local business aviation groups and others have likewise been weighing in, alerting Congress to this concern.
As the year draws to a close, we in business aviation have an important opportunity to alert Congress once again. Lawmakers will soon return to their states and Congressional districts for the holidays - by using Contact Congress now, we can let them know that when they are at home, they will hear from constituents about this issue. By meeting with elected officials in the coming days and weeks, we can also make our voices heard. By discussing the issue at seasonal community events, we can prompt others to take action.
In short, by remaining mobilized on this issue, we can help shape our destiny on a matter of critical importance to business aviation.
NBAA President & CEO
Recently we conducted a survey to get your feedback about the state of general aviation at HPN. Our Board of Directors want to effectively address the issues you perceive and thank you for your participation! Below are the results of our efforts and the collective opinions of 112 participants.
Association with WAA
The Main Focus of the WAA & Value for Membership Consideration
Have you noticed something missing from the entrance of our airport?
Not too worry as our honorable "Gate Guardian" is undergoing restoration and will be back next month to once again stand tall.
The aircraft was originally mounted to the pole on Saturday, December 21,1996 @ approximately 1:00PM. Former County Executive Andy O'Rourke developed the inspiration for the project, DPW managed and coordinated the project, and Lothrop Associates were the designers on the project.
The aircraft is on loan to the County from the National Naval Aviation Museum, and while in airport custody, it must be maintained and displayed in a proper manner for compliance with the loan agreement.
Airport manager Pete Scherrer commented, "For almost twenty years, the aircraft has stood vigilantly at her assigned post, greeting all those whose use our Airport. It has now come time for 'Our Girl' to get a 'make over'."
The proposed schedule is to remove the aircraft from her post during the month of September, and transport her to a repair shop in Tarrytown. During the month of October the aircraft will be fully inspected for the presence of metal corrosion and/or stress fractures. Repair will be completed as required, the old paint will be stripped from the aircraft surfaces, followed by the application of new paint and aircraft markings.
The airport anticipates that the aircraft will be returned to her assigned post during the Month of November.
Westchester Aviation Association is a non-profit organization.
Main P.O. Box 447 Purchase, NY 10577-0447