posted on February 13, 2018 06:52
With the release of the White House's budget proposal, Helicopter Association International (HAI) strongly opposes the Trump administration's continued push for a controversial concept of privatizing the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
HAI believes transferring oversight of ATC away from Congress to a private, unelected board dominated by the airlines has the potential to steer resources and investments toward airline-centric needs. This could reduce general aviation access to certain airspace, airports, and heliports, negatively affecting the needs of rural America.
General aviation is an important American industry that generates more than $219 billion in total economic output, supports 1.1 million jobs, and includes a network of thousands of airports and heliports that connect many rural communities to the rest of the world. ATC privatization would hurt the general aviation industry and the communities that rely on it.
Language in the House FAA reauthorization bill containing a provision for ATC privatization has met with strenuous objections from lawmakers in both parties, more than 200 aviation organizations, more than 100 pilot-business leaders, and more than 100 mayors in every state.
Matt Zuccaro, president and CEO of HAI noted, "All stakeholders on both sides of this issue acknowledge that we already have the safest, most efficient air traffic control system in the world. So what problem are they trying to solve? It would appear that the primary rationale for this initiative is the airlines' desire to gain control of the airspace," said Zuccaro. "As the dominant force on the proposed governing board of the new ATC entity, the airlines stand to gain the most by focusing on their particular needs. This restructuring of ATC is not in the best interest of other aviation stakeholders."
HAI supports ongoing efforts to modernize and increase efficiency at the FAA. Currently, the interests of all users of the National Airspace System have a voice through the regulatory process of the FAA, as well as congressional oversight, which allows for the advancement of important safety improvements and efficiencies benefiting all segments of the aviation community.
HAI stands opposed to ATC privatization. Zuccaro pledged to continue working with Congress and the administration in crafting common-sense policies aimed at implementing NextGen technology in an efficient, safe, cost-effective manner.