U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran came to Wichita Eisenhower National Airport recently, voicing opposition to the proposed privatization of our country’s air traffic control (ATC) system. Greteman Group colleague Ashley Bowen Cook and I were among those attending the June 23 press conference and airport tour. Everyone agrees that ATC needs modernizing, but that work is already underway. In fact, the efforts to build a NextGen aviation system could be disrupted in the scramble to set up privatization.
Like the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and most of business aviation, we at Greteman Group believe privatization is a bad idea. We do not think it is in the public’s interest to give ATC control (for free) to a group of private parties, largely unaccountable to Congress.
Here in the Air Capital, we could be especially hard hit as resources are directed away from general aviation and smaller communities. It could add to the cost of flying smaller aircraft and the ability to use air space nationwide. The blow to general aviation would also shrivel up our nation’s primary source of new pilots, an already-shrinking pool.
“I am one of many who believe this is terribly damaging to all but the largest airports and the largest communities in the country,” says Sen. Moran.
In other parts of the world where privatization has taken place, Director of Airports Victor White says general aviation has practically disappeared. Mid-Continent Instruments + Avionics CEO Todd Winter concurred, saying, “I have seen the effects of similar efforts on my international customers and the European business aviation community. The impact has been devastating and has all but eliminated private and business aviation.”
Vote on the bill, H.R. 2997, is expected by mid-July. Congress should say no to ATC privatization and yes to reauthorizing ATC within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We’ve reached out to our members of Congress, and ask that you do the same.