Aviation groups including the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) have expressed support for legislation that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) but falls short of privatizing air traffic control services.
Senate Bill S. 1405, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2017, would reform certifications, improve consumer protections, move forward with air traffic control (ATC) modernization, and boost the ability of the FAA to regulate unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).
However, it does not include provisions to privatize the USA’s ATC system, or set up a non-profit organization run by a 13-member board to run it, as other Washington DC lawmakers have proposed.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen endorsed the FAA reauthorization bill, welcoming plans to support ATC technology modernization through the next-gen program, streamline the certification process for aviation technologies, enhance aviation safety, and integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System.
“This legislation is the right bill at the right time, helping strengthen and provide stability for the nation’s aviation system, so that it remains the world’s best five, 10 and 25 years from now,” Bolen said. “It takes into account the perspectives of all stakeholders, bringing specific, consensus-based solutions to challenges.”
NBAA also “noted” the bill’s lack of “controversial language” to privatize ATC oversight. The NBAA opposes plans to privatize the USA’s ATC system, which it says would turn control of a natural monopoly that serves the public’s interest, and is overseen by the public’s elected representatives in Congress, over to a new entity governed by private interests.