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June 22, 2017 - AOPA, GA groups oppose ATC privatization

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Old June 23rd 17, 01:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Default June 22, 2017 - AOPA, GA groups oppose ATC privatization

AOPA, GA groups oppose ATC privatization

What would Regain have done if ATC personnel had not been government

Privatization of essential services has always worked out well; just
look at the privatization of electricity in California
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/05/enro-m10.html . :-(

================================================== =============================


AOPA joined other general aviation groups lining up to oppose
legislation introduced Wednesday that would privatize air traffic
control. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced legislation
that is similar to a bill proposed last year but with a slightly
different governance structure, and no user fees charged to Part 135
charter operators. Like the ATC privatization legislation proposed
last year, this new bill also does not include user fees on Part 91
operations. AOPA Online (6/21)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider
amendments to the new bill on June 27.

AOPA President Mark Baker said AOPA will oppose the House legislation.

“As the largest association of pilots and aviation enthusiasts, AOPA
is focused on reforms to our air traffic system that will work for all
users of the system," Baker said. "A privatization proposal that
requires protections for a large segment of aviation has a high
potential for unintended consequences, as well as increased costs and
uncertainty. We will continue to work with the administration,
Congress, and industry stakeholders on reforms and efficiencies
necessary to make certain our air traffic control system remains the
envy of the world."

AOPA and five other aviation industry organizations signed a joint
statement opposing the House legislation and the privatization of air
traffic control.

The statement thanked Shuster for his “meaningful and thoughtful” work
to improve ATC, but went on to say privatization “will produce
uncertainty and unintended consequences without achieving the desired

Privatization has the support of President Donald Trump, but faces
significant criticism from the industry and members of both political
parties. A recent survey by Hart Research Associates and Public
Opinion Strategies showed a majority of Americans believe ATC
privatization is a “bad idea.”

The GA groups took issue with the proposed ATC governing board and
what it would mean for GA. While acknowledging that the bill would not
impose user fees on GA, the groups “have concluded that any structural
and governance reforms that require protections for an important
sector of users are fundamentally flawed.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao acknowledged that the board would
be incentivized to treat larger airports as a higher priority.

As an alternative to privatization, the letter from the groups
proposes a series of measures to increase the stability of FAA
funding, including biennial budgeting and reforms to certification and

The Senate is expected to propose within days an alternative bill to
fund the FAA that does not include ATC privatization.

Chao Vows To Work with GA To Assuage ATC Reform Fears
by Kerry Lynch
- June 8, 2017, 11:28 AM

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao today acknowledged concerns of
the general aviation community about the proposal for an independent
air traffic control system and vowed to continue to work with the
groups to assuage their fears. However, she also said that those fears
“are unfounded.”

Chao, who testified for the second consecutive day on Capitol
Hill—this time before the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee (T&I)—recognized fears surrounding general aviation and
rural community access under the Trump Administration’s proposal for
ATC reform. She said she has worked with business and general aviation
groups and added she wants to “partner with them to address some of
the issues.”

She further dismissed concerns that the system would be run by the
airlines, saying it would be run by a independent board with only a
couple of seats appointed by the airlines. “The board will not be
dominated by airlines,” she stressed.

Having said that, she also pointed out that general aviation is not
composed of only mom-and-pop operators, but also includes corporate

The Trump proposal received a mixed reception during today’s hearing,
with many of the Republicans referring to a need for change and
emphasizing “the status quo is unacceptable,” while Democrats
questioned the capitalization of the new organization, long-term labor
outlook and prospects for environmental reviews for future changes.

As in yesterday’s hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee,
protections for rural airports and contract towers were emphasized.
Chao again noted current vulnerabilities under sequestration.
“Contract towers are always the first to be cut back when there are
budget pressures,” she said, adding there would be more protections in
the future. When further questioned about protections for rural
communities, she added, “It can’t be any worse than it is now,” given
the vulnerabilities to cuts.

Chao acknowledged that “in broad terms,” a private air traffic board
would have an incentive to prioritize operations of larger airports,
but said “we are open to working with Congress” on the details to
preserve access. “Rural America overall is an important aspect. We are
open to discussion about that.”

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Washington), noting that comprehensive
reauthorization encompasses a spectrum of issues, expressed concern
that the controversy surrounding the ATC reform could lead Congress to
another short-term bill rather than a long-term bill. He asked if Chao
would support moving forward with reauthorization without addressing
the ATC reform issues.

Chao responded that the administration’s preference is that
“liberation” of the ATC organization would be considered and passed.
But she added, “We want to work with the committee and the Congress.
Let’s work on the issues and see how far we can get.”

“There is consensus about the need for a long-term FAA bill that
reforms the FAA's certification processes, integrates unmanned
aircraft and improves safety,” Larsen said in his opening statement.
“That's the bill we should be talking about today. That's the bill we
must enact with no further delay. Absolutely no science experiments,
just bipartisan provisions that have broad stakeholder support and
should have already been enacted.”

T&I Committee chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania) re-emphasized the
need to take action. “Without bold action, America will without a
doubt fall behind other nations in aviation,” Shuster said. “It’s time
for this committee and for Congress to act, and I look forward to
working with the secretary as we do that.”




New ATC Reform Proposal Draws Same Fire from Opponents
by Kerry Lynch
- June 22, 2017, 10:21 AM

Despite the move to address some of the larger concerns with the
latest proposal to create an independent, user-funded organization to
run the U.S. air traffic control system, key Democrats and the
business and general aviation community remain firmly opposed to the

House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Bill Shuster
(R-Pennsylvania) yesterday rolled out a comprehensive six-year FAA
reauthorization bill that includes an ATC reform proposal that would
provide protections for airspace access and exempt Part 91 and 135
from new users fees. The proposal also included a new management board
structure that had representation from a cross-section of industry.
Shuster said the new proposal had captured new backers, notably Rep.
Sam Graves (R-Missouri), who is a chief general aviation advocate on
Capitol Hill.

However, Rep. Pete DeFazio, the top Democrat on the T&I Committee,
remained skeptical, saying the new proposal “does nothing to address
the major concerns raised by a bipartisan group of opponents about
whether air traffic control privatization would guarantee safety,
protect national security, expedite new technology and keep our
aviation system solvent.” He added that the proposal would “tear apart
the FAA and jeopardize aviation safety.”

Specifically, DeFazio said the proposal, like the previous one, would
leave the rest of the FAA vulnerable to budget cuts and would create a
scenario where billions of dollars in government assets would be
handed over to a private corporation.

Six business and general aviation organizations, meanwhile,
acknowledged Shuster's efforts to reach a compromise. “We believe
chairman Shuster has raised the issue of reform in a meaningful and
thoughtful manner,” they said in a joint statement. But, they added,
“Any structural and governance reforms that require protections for an
important sector of users is fundamentally flawed.” The cost and time
spent during a transition of such a restructuring could be better
applied to continuing progress in modernization, they said.

The groups—AOPA, EAA, GAMA, HAI, NATA and NBAA—however, added they do
believe meaningful reforms could be achieved “short of privatization,”
saying, “We believe efforts should focus on developing a long-term FAA
reauthorization that creates the stability and funding necessary and
that can reach the President’s desk for signature.”

DeFazio also has backed alternative reforms, earlier this month
unveiling his own proposal that would provide for procurement and
personnel reform and take the FAA “off budget,” which would free up
aviation trust fund revenues and shield the agency’s budget from
sequestration and other cuts.

And?, the Senate also has yet to jump on board. An early draft of the
Senate version of a comprehensive four-year FAA reauthorization bill
includes a number of provisions examining NextGen priorities and
management, but does not include any similar provision to reform the
ATC organization.

The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to consider its version of
the FAA bill on June 28, a day after the House T&I Committee will
bring its bill up for a vote.

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