A sigh of relief could be heard last week by many in the aviation industry as the bill that, if passed by Congress, would have privatized air traffic control was tossed out. At least for now.
ATC privatization has been a high priority for the Committee’s chairman, Bill Shuster, who is known to be closely linked with Airlines for America, an organization in favor of privatizing ATC services. A4A’s president and CEO Nicholas Calio has worked for years with Shuster to transfer air traffic services away from the FAA, claiming that the agency is incapable of putting through NextGen, the modernization of the air traffic control system.
General aviation alphabet groups lobbied heavily against the bill as the suggested not-for-profit ATC services organization would have been governed by an airline-centric board and funded by user fees.
With the FAA funding running out at the end of March, a temporary extension is expected soon while the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee drafts a new FAA reauthorization bill.