With the release of the White House’s budget proposal, Helicopter Association International (HAI) is alarmed that the Trump administration is pursuing a controversial concept of privatizing the nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system.
HAI supports ongoing efforts to modernize and increase efficiency at the FAA. Currently, the interests of all users of the National Airspace System have a voice through the regulatory process of the FAA as well as congressional oversight, which allows for the advancement of important safety improvements and efficiencies benefiting all segments of the aviation community.
“HAI members currently enjoy a good relationship with and a high level of service from the air traffic control division of the FAA,” said Matthew Zuccaro, president and CEO of HAI.
“What is the problem we are trying to fix?” asked Zuccaro, questioning the need for an overhaul of U.S. air traffic control. The FAA’s air traffic control division runs an airspace that is the world’s busiest and most complex, as well as a global leader in aviation safety.
“It would appear that the primary rationale for this initiative is the airlines’ desire to gain control of the airspace,” said Zuccaro. “As the dominant force on the proposed governing board of the new ATC entity, the airlines stand to gain the most by focusing on their particular needs. This restructuring of ATC is not in the best interest of other aviation stakeholders.
“The helicopter industry is a major benefactor and supporter of advancing the NextGen initiatives and ongoing efforts to modernize and increase the efficiency of ATC,” continued Zuccaro. “Placing control of ATC in a privatized system dominated by a select portion of users could steer resources and investments towards airline-dominated airport hubs at the expense of hundreds of other airports serving general aviation and rural America.”
HAI stands opposed to ATC privatization. Zuccaro pledged to continue working with Congress and the administration in crafting common-sense policies aimed at implementing NextGen technology in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
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