Make Your Voice Heard NOW Against ATC Privatization

By CJP Executive Director Andrew Broom

The clock is ticking down on H.R.2997, legislation to reauthorize funding to the FAA that also includes provisions to privatize ATC oversight. With a potential vote on the bill expected soon in the House, it’s imperative that CJP Members remain steadfast in combating efforts to strip congressional oversight from ATC, and in correcting the misinformation spread by privatization proponents and their powerful supporters on Capitol Hill.

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A privatized ATC system would allow private parties to restrict access to airports and airspace, set and collect air transportation taxes, and increase costs for flying. Resources for airports and other infrastructure could be directed away from general aviation, jeopardizing service and access for smaller communities.

Moving to a privatized system would also place continuing efforts to modernize our nation’s ATC system at grave risk; furthermore, a recent study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined the true cost of ATC privatization would swell America’s budget deficit by nearly $100 billion – a far cry from claims that privatization would save taxpayers money.

Additionally, the Congressional Research Service has raised questions about the proposal’s constitutionality, while the Government Accountability Office affirmed the move to privatization would also cause additional delays in efforts to modernize the ATC system.

Although supporters of privatization – led by the nation’s airlines, and their allies on Capitol Hill, in the White House, and in the media – are pulling out all the stops to rally support for the controversial measure, it’s important to note we are far from alone in this fight. In fact, CJP was the first owner/pilot type organization to join efforts to combat ATC privatization – a list that has since grown to more than 150 additional aviation groups.

Others raising concerns about ATC privatization include more than 100 U.S. mayors, more than 100 business leaders (including multiple CJP members), consumer groups, think tanks on the political left and right, consumer groups, congressional watchdog organizations and members of Congress from both political parties.

That said, it’s important that every voice be heard in this fight – and if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to utilize one of the following resources to add yours to the growing chorus against ATC privatization.

You may contact your local Congressional office through NBAA’s Contact Congress resource, or via a toll-free action line (855-265-9002). The website offers important information about the myths espoused by supporters of privatization, versus the harsh realities of such a measure, and allows you to share messages opposing privatization with your elected representatives and on social media.

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The national ATC network currently functions as a monopoly overseen by Congress to ensure that decisions are made in the public interest. Under privatization, control of this system would be handed over to an unelected board, comprised of private entities that would likely make decisions based on their business interests.

That grim prospect represents a truly bad deal for Citation pilots, and anyone else concerned over the freedom and flexibility of today’s ATC system. I hope you’ll take the time to express your opposition to this controversial scheme.