Privatizing air traffic controllers will fundamentally destablize air travel in the United States.


Washington, DC – Yesterday, Congress and groups finally had the chance to see inside the Air Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act; here is what they had to say:

Members of Congress:

Representative Peter DeFazio: “This privatization proposal gives a private corporation the power to tax the American public to pay for safe operations, and it hands over a public asset worth billions of dollars to a private corporation for free.”

Representative Jared Huffman: “GOP’s AIRRact is the #FlintWaterCrisis of air traffic control: take the safest system in the world & jeopardize it for private interests.”

Representative Rick Larsen: “I disagree that the GOP privatization proposal is necessary to address the problems we face with the FAA… Right now we are on a non-stop flight to implementing NextGen, but with privatization of the air traffic control system, we are headed for a seven-year-plus layover.”

Representative Mike Pompeo: “Removing air traffic control from FAA and handing it over to a new corporate bureaucracy, absent of congressional oversight, would be a risky and expensive undertaking.  The consequences and costs of such a move would be borne by American taxpayers, general aviation, and the traveling public.”

Representative Joe Crowley: “Unfortunately, as the bill currently stands, I have many concerns, including that it contains an attempt to privatize air traffic control.”

Earlier this week, both Senate and House Appropriators sent letters opposing the ATC privatization proposal.

Labor/Aviation Groups:

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS): “Privatizing the FAA will only add uncertainty and potentially reverse major advancements that have been made over the past several years toward modernization…. AFGE, AFSCME and PASS firmly believe that the FAA must remain a cohesive unit of federal employees.”

Air Line Pilots Association International: “After months of working with key officials to ensure this crucial legislation focuses on vital safety measures, we are disappointed to see that this bill does not advance aviation safety in our country.”

Airplane Owners and Pilots Association: “…the plan to separate air traffic control from the FAA, raise important questions that demand meaningful answers. Ultimately, we need to know that any FAA reauthorization legislation will protect the interests of general aviation now and into the future.”

National Air Transportation Association: “NATA cannot support the legislation’s proposal to create a federally chartered, not-for-profit air traffic control corporation.”

National Business Aviation Association: “NBAA believes that the public airspace belongs to the public, and should be run for the public’s interest. Putting our nation’s ATC system beyond the reach of elected officials has the potential to not only harm general aviation, but also stifle innovation and new competition.”

Americans Against Air Traffic Privatization: “This isn’t a new idea. Time and time again, Congress has deemed removing the ATC from the FAA a bad bet for the American people; today is no different. The AIRR Act empowers airlines with control of a private entity and has created a carve-out that will mean CEOs fly for free, while middle class families pay ever-increasing costs to travel.”

People Demanding Action: The AIRR Act is the wrong solution to the wrong problem. This is a manufactured crisis brought on by Republicans in Congress, who instead should be working to restore stable funding and address the budget gaps created by sequestration

Experimental Aircraft Association: “What is also part of the bill, however, is an ATC governance structure that heavily favors airlines and commercial interests, and creates real threats to the services that keep America’s air traffic system the safest and most effective in the world.”

Regional Airline Association: “We cannot support an ATC entity that leaves an industry that operates 45 percent of the nation’s commercial flights without representation in the proposed new corporation.”

About Americans Against Air Traffic Privatization (AAATP)

Americans Against Air Traffic Privatization (AAATP) is comprised of several groups that represent millions of Americans. Founding members include Public Citizen, People Demanding Action, Daily Kos and the Courage Campaign. The coalition will advocate on behalf of passengers and the middle class workers who keep them safe by pushing to retain Air Traffic Control operations under the FAA. Public Citizen and Daily Kos each launched online petitions in December, and given the overwhelming response, the coalition is launching to ensure that there was an ongoing and concerted effort to remind Congress that Americans oppose privatization schemes.

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