NBAA Welcomes Changes to FAA and Air Traffic Control

Aviation Weather Report
Aerial panoramic view of a commercial airport runway with connections and taxiways

Washington, DC –  The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed a bipartisan Senate bill to authorize funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that takes a consensus-driven approach to addressing modernization of the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.

Senate Bill S. 1405, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2017, was introduced by Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) and other committee leaders. In addition to targeting support toward implementation of a Next Generation (“NextGen”) aviation system, Bolen noted the bill addresses several other priorities identified by NBAA and other organizations, including provisions for streamlining the certification process for aviation technologies, enhancing aviation safety and integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System.

“This bipartisan legislation is the right bill at the right time, helping strengthen and provide stability for the nation’s aviation system, so that it remains the world’s best five, 10 and 25 years from now,” Bolen said. “It takes into account the perspectives of all stakeholders, bringing specific, consensus-based solutions to challenges. On behalf of our more than 11,000 member companies, I thank Sens. Thune, Nelson and other Commerce Committee leaders for moving forward with this legislation.”

Also notable is the Senate bill’s lack of controversial language to privatize ATC oversight. NBAA has long had significant concerns with the notion of privatizing ATC, which would turn control over the ATC system – a natural monopoly that currently serves the public’s interest, and is overseen by the public’s elected representatives in Congress – to a new entity governed by private interests.

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