A coalition of rural agricultural and aviation industry associations are warning Congress that the removal of air traffic control duties from the FAA could bias funding and regulatory decisions in favor of large commercial operators.
“Rural communities, agriculture and small businesses stand to lose the most under a privatized system, where there would be no congressional oversight to ensure that all stakeholders and communities have access to air transportation,” the coalition wrote. “Under a privatized system, a private board dominated by the largest commercial operators would undoubtedly direct resources and investments to the largest hub airports and urban areas where these investments would be most likely to benefit their bottom line.”
“They could also shape and influence the system in many other ways to their benefit, including by leveraging many new fees and taxes, reducing access to airports for lower cost competitors and impeding access to particular airports,” it added. “It is also unclear how important programs such as the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) would fare, which provide long-term funding in the form of federal grants to both large and small airports around the country, which are a lifeline to local communities and economies.”
The letter was signed by the Agriculture Retailers Association, Alliance for Aviation Across America, Crop Life America, League of Rural Voters, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Council of Agricultural Employers, National Farmers Union, National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, National Women in Agriculture Association, and USA Rice Federation.