Washington, DC, April 19, 2016 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomed today’s passage by the U.S. Senate of a bill to reauthorize funding and programs for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that includes important, targeted solutions to identified challenges, but without language for creating a privatized air traffic control (ATC) system, overseen by an airline-centric board of directors and funded through onerous new user fees.
The legislation, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, was introduced on March 9, and reported out by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on March 16.
“On behalf of NBAA’s more than 10,000 member companies, we applaud this bipartisan step toward implementing a smart, targeted approach to funding the FAA’s efforts to modernize what is already the world’s safest ATC system, without going down the dangerous path of turning our ATC system over to a private board,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.
“Specifically, we thank Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) and other Senate lawmakers, who played a leadership role in seeing this vital legislation introduced and approved. We will continue working to get these important advancements promptly passed into law.”
The bill, H.R.636, includes measures, widely supported by the broad aviation community, for streamlining the certification process for aviation technologies, raising the bar on aviation safety, integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System and accelerating implementation of a Next Generation (“NextGen”) air traffic management system. The bill also provides a plan for the U.S. Department of Transportation to modernize third-class medical requirements for pilots of small general aviation aircraft.
The Senate bill’s House counterpart (H.R.4441), introduced in early February, also contains many positive elements that reflect a consensus within the aviation community; unfortunately, the bill includes a risky provision for creating a privatized ATC system funded through new user fees and overseen by an airline-dominated board of directors.
“After two years of hearings and debate, the Senate has reached a consensus on how to move forward with legislation to reauthorize the FAA, which can continue building on efforts to bring new technologies to market and make NextGen a reality,” Bolen continued. “Now that the Senate has achieved this consensus, it is time to move forward on the legislation and make it law.”
Bolen urged the general aviation community to continue to use NBAA’s online Contact Congress resource to reach out to elected officials, to support the continued advancement of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill.
To utilize Contact Congress from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, simply visit nbaa.org/action, or go to nbaa.org/twitter to Contact Congress through social media.
“It remains vital that the nation’s airports and airspace continue to function in the public interest, rather than at the behest of a private entity,” Bolen concluded. “We want the U.S. to remain the world leader in aviation five, 10 and 25 years from now, without going down the risky path of turning over the air traffic system over to a combination of self-interested parties.”
Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.