NBAA: New GAO Study The Latest to Expose Dubious ATC Privatization Claims
September 12, 2017
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  • The NBAA says that a new study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is among several recent reports from non-partisan government research organizations, which thoroughly undercut proponents’ bogus arguments for privatizing the nation’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.

    Specifically, and contrary to claims made by some ATC privatization supporters, the non-partisan GAO report, released Sept. 7, concludes that efforts by the FAA to continue modernizing the ATC system have delivered $2.7 billion in benefits to all users of the system and are on budget The report goes on to state that privatizing ATC could interfere with the work well underway to complete development of a Next Generation aviation system.

    The proposal for privatizing the air traffic control system being pushed by big airlines as Congress debates a long-term FAA reauthorization bill. Under such a proposal, congressional oversight of the nation’s aviation system would be replaced by an entity governed by a private, airline-centric board, unaccountable to Congress. On June 21, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-9-PA) introduced H.R. 2997, a bill containing provisions for privatizing ATC.

    The new GAO study comes on the heels of two other recent, independent reports raising concerns about ATC privatization. Last month, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that H.R. 2997 would grow America’s budget deficit by nearly $100 billion. In July, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that the legislation raised questions about the constitutionality of privatizing ATC.

    “This GAO study is among several that break through the host of dubious allegations being made by the airlines and their supporters about the need for ATC privatization, which amounts to a wholesale giveaway of the nation’s ATC system to the airlines themselves,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

    “Equally important, the GAO and other congressional watchdogs, are joined in raising serious concerns over this risky idea by consumer groups, more than 100 U.S. mayors, more than 100 business leaders, think tanks on the political right and left, members of Congress from both political parties and a majority of American citizens.

    “While we all want ATC modernization to continue as quickly as possible, we should not confuse that national priority with handing over the ATC system to the airlines, through privatization. This idea has become a distraction in the serious work being done on modernization, and it should be set aside.”

    NBAA members have mobilized in opposition to H.R. 2997. The association’s Contact Congress resource provides a means for using email and social media to alert lawmakers to the industry’s opposition to the bill. In addition, a toll-free action line – 1-833-GA-VOICE – connects constituents with elected representatives to express opposition to the legislation.

    More than 100 aviation groups also oppose ATC privatization, and have joined in supporting a dedicated website – – where citizens can also learn more about the threat from ATC privatization, and contact their elected officials to oppose H.R. 2997.

    (Source: NBAA news release)