A Wall Street Journal editorial last week said it would be a good idea to privatize the air traffic control system, and singled out the opposition by NBAA and AOPA for critique. “What’s really going on,” the WSJ editorial board says, is that the business jet industry pays just 0.6 percent of aviation user taxes, though it accounts for 11 to 13 percent of controlled traffic. “The industry would like to keep it that way,” the board says. NBAA and AOPA were quick to respond in their own defense. In a rebuttal posted on their website, NBAA says the WSJ editorial is incorrect in a number of key statements.
The Journal says only one seat on the proposed nonprofit board for ATC would be held by the airlines, but NBAA notes that eight of the 13 board seats would be held by “airline-centric interests,” with only two seats for GA. The editorial singled out NBAA and AOPA and “the lobbyists for the paupers known as the corporate jet lobby” for opposing privatization, but AOPA’s rebuttal noted that the newspaper “ignored more than 200 GA groups as well as more than 100 mayors in every state, airport organizations, chambers of commerce, and others who have reviewed the [ATC privatization] proposal and reached a very different conclusion.” AOPA and NBAA have jointly submitted a letter to the editor with their arguments against the points made in the editorial.