The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) registered its enthusiastic support for a letter from more than 100 American business leaders – nearly all of whom are pilot-CEOs – to U.S. House and Senate leaders, stating their unified opposition to turning the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system over to an entity governed by a private board of directors.
“These American business leaders analyze the risks and benefits of potential investment opportunities each day, and in addition, have direct knowledge of our nation’s air traffic system,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said. “Based on their unique perspective, they have all concluded that privatizing our nation’s ATC system and turning it over to a private board represents a risk that we simply cannot take.”
In the letter, the business leaders state: “As members of the business community who depend on our nation’s ATC system, we are writing to express our opposition to turning it over to a private board. Instead, we are committed to improving the ATC system with targeted solutions to identified challenges, and believe that is the appropriate way to enhance our aviation system.
“We stand by the belief and promise from the federal government to all Americans that our nation’s airspace belongs to the public, and every person, business and community should have fair and equitable access, not just a few special interests in select cities and metropolitan areas,” the letter continues.
The White House, and many big airlines, have promoted the notion of privatizing ATC as Congress debates the reauthorization of funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“With this letter, these business leaders who are also pilots are coming together to make their voices heard on one of the most important aviation-policy issues confronting elected officials,” Bolen added. “They are clearly and unequivocally telling Congress not to turn our air traffic system all over to a private board.”
Bolen noted that the signatories of the letter are leaders of a diverse group of private-sector companies. Some lead companies that have been in business for decades, while others recently founded startups. The companies range in size, from small businesses to firms that are household names.
“While this is a diverse group of companies, they have several important traits in common,” Bolen continued. “They are located in communities of all sizes, in every state in the country and they rely on business aviation to meet some portion of their transportation challenges. Their perspective is critical in ensuring that the United States has the world’s best air transportation system that serves all Americans now and in the future.”