HAI opposes privatization of national air traffic control system

HAI Press Release | June 23, 2017

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 20 seconds.

Agreeing firmly with the sentiments of most Americans, Helicopter Association International (HAI) continues to stand against privatization of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.

Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International. HAI Photo
Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO of Helicopter Association International. HAI Photo

“HAI adds our voice to those of five other major general aviation (GA) associations in opposing the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act,” said Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO of HAI.

“We cosigned a letter that outlines our belief that this legislation will do nothing to increase the efficiency and safety of a system that is already the world’s best ATC program. The proponents of privatization point to delays in implementing NextGen technology as their rationale for making the change,” he added. “In that case, why not just privatize that initiative and leave air traffic control where it belongs — with the professionals of the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration]. I’ve said it before, many times: what is the problem they are trying to fix?”

The proposed legislation is presented by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The proposed plan would give government assets and control of the nation’s ATC to a private corporation.

“Our examination of the bill indicates that the corporation’s governance structure and nominating panels do not directly address the helicopter community,” said Zuccaro. “We’d be much happier if Congress would assist aviation as a whole by creating a long-term, stabilized funding system for the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Allowing the FAA to do what they have been doing very well means that everyone can continue to fly safely. A recent study by CNBC shows that the majority of Americans agree that ATC privatization is a bad idea,” concluded Zuccaro. “No one seems to want our government to give away the ATC system.”

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