Friday, March 2, 2018

Letter to the editor: A different look at the ATC reform bill

In a recent article examining Pawley Island pilot Doug Decker’s concerns about air traffic control reform, Decker misrepresents some key facts about proposals outlined in the 21st Century AIRR Act.

In the piece, he claims the ATC reform bill would hand over control of America’s ATC system to a private corporation, removing government oversight and giving airlines control of the ATC operations. This notion is blatantly false.

In actuality, the bill would create a non-profit, 13-seat board composed of a diverse group of aviation stakeholders to oversee ATC operations. Large airlines, regional carriers, cargo airlines, general and business aviation, and America’s airports would each hold a seat, ensuring equal representation. The federal government would also hold two seats, and the Secretary of Transportation would be required to approve all proposed ATC service changes.

Decker also overstates the FAA’s progress in implementing essential technology upgrades to America’s air traffic control system that would help reduce delays and shorten flight times. The NextGen satellite-based navigation system, which will replace the existing outdated radar-based system that was developed during WWII, is years behind schedule and billions over budget. Removing ATC operations and funding from the federal government will ultimately allow the FAA to focus on what it does best – overseeing aviation safety and national security.

What Decker fails to mention is that the main opponents to ATC reform are wealthy private and business jet owners who, under the current system, utilize roughly $1 billion in ATC resources a year but contribute less than one percent to the taxes that fund ATC operations, forcing commercial passengers to pick up the tab for their billion-dollar subsidy.

Decker speaks for private pilots and millionaire jet owners who want to maintain the status quo. But if you’re one of the 800 million people who fly commercial every year and would like shorter flight times and fewer delays, you should absolutely contact your elected officials – in support of ATC reforms that will benefit America’s flying public.

Sean Williams

Washington, D.C.

Original article ➤

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