Bill Shuster Announces His Retirement

The effect of his exit on ATC corporatization is unclear.

Rep. Bill Shuster's retirement announcement could mean an end to the effort to privatize the nation's air traffic control system.Bill Shuster/Twitter

While Rep. Bill Shuster’s (R-Pa) announcement that he’ll leave the House at the end of 2018 might signal a potential win for opponents of his controversial plan to separate air traffic control from the FAA, Mr. Shuster’s remark, “We have much still to do,” should serve as a reminder that the effort to create a not-for-profit organization to run ATC isn’t over until it’s over.

Rather than spend much of this year campaigning for re-election, Shuster said, “I thought it was wiser to spend my last year as Chairman focusing 100 percent on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both chambers to pass a much-needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America.”

According to Politico's Morning Transportation, "Shuster's impending departure, and his commitment to focusing 100 percent on infrastructure, signals that he may be giving up the fight to push the air traffic control system out of the FAA. Neither of his likely successors as chairman, Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) or Sam Graves (R-Mo.), have indicated an interest in picking up the mantle if they get the gavel (and if the Republicans maintain control of the House.) Of course, the must-pass FAA bill appeared unpassable as long as Shuster's ATC provision was attached, so it was likely a losing battle anyway."

No reaction so far from aviation’s alphabet groups to Shuster’s retirement plans. The Congressman’s future plans have also not been disclosed.