NBAA and NATA submitted comments to the House aviation subcommittee, which held a hearing yesterday onATC reform, to advocate a more business-like approach for the FAA. However, the business aviation groups are urging Congress to ensure that any change to the agency preserves access, avoids user fees and protects airports. Meanwhile, Airlines for America and think-tank officials are seeking an independent government or private nonprofit air traffic organization that is based on international models and user-fee funded.
NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen conceded that to preserve the ATC system “changes will be necessary,” but added, “We will not support changes that fail to preserve business aviation’s access to airspace and airports in a safe, predictable and affordable manner.” He outlined NBAA-backed principles for the next reauthorization bill: move forward on NextGen, retain congressional control over taxes and fees, do not impose user fees, ensure access, preserve the nation’s airports, protect operator privacy, improve the certification process, ensure safe introduction of unmanned systems, and ensure government continuity.
NATA president and CEO Tom Hendricks echoed those sentiments, saying changes must be managed “to maintain a stable, safe and efficient system that protects access for all users.” The FAA could adopt more private sector practices, he said, and suggested protections for the agency from the effects of sequestration and government shutdowns.
He added, though, NATA would oppose “de facto ‘leap of faith’ proposals that would put general aviation’s fate in the hands of undefined management structures or leave unresolved its contribution to the system.”