Mike Perrone, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), the union that represents 11,000 employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) who ensure the safety of the National Airspace System and the aircraft that use it, rejected the 21st Century AIRR Act introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Bill Shuster (R-Pa.).
“At a time when reauthorizing the FAA should be paramount, it is neither a prudent nor responsible decision to introduce legislation that jeopardizes our standing as the world leader in aviation by gambling with risky privatization schemes. As experts in aviation safety, we simply cannot support this misguided legislation,” he said. “The House version of the FAA reauthorization legislation, as introduced, shortchanges federal employees at the FAA and the American people.”
“Privatizing the largest and most complex aviation system in the world is a risk not worth taking at this pivotal point in its modernization,” said Perrone. “Breaking apart the safest system in the world to establish a monopoly is fundamentally flawed. After closely reviewing this legislation, it is clear this plan lacks the protections the dedicated professionals at the FAA deserve and the flying public rely upon.”
PASS believes the reauthorization of the FAA is a crucial piece of legislation that should ensure the continued operation and modernization of the nation’s aviation system, as well as the jobs of thousands of federal employees. With steady and stable funding, the FAA can continue its progress on modernization and in so doing, protect the safety of the flying public. Privatizing the air traffic control system will reverse major advancements in modernization that have been made while compromising safety.
“The 21st Century AIRR Act is really no different than the bill the Chairman put forward last year, which PASS helped to defeat,” Perrone continued. “In the meantime, the committed public servants at the FAA have continued to make great strides with NextGen and put safety first while lawmakers are rehashing the same misguided arguments on privatization.”
PASS firmly believes that the safest and most complex air traffic control system in the world must remain in the hands of the federal government, accountable to the American people, and we will work with members of Congress to preserve our nation’s status as stewards of the largest and safest aviation system in the world.