People have a lot to say about air traffic control these days. With two competing visions for the future of the U.S. ATC system on the table, it’s no wonder that aviation member organizations are weighing in. As part of a push to educate its members, the National Air Transport Association (NATA) has released a list of ATC privatization—which NATA calls “corporatization”—myths and facts.
The document address often-raised ATC issues with the stated goal of separating actual fact from regularly-repeated sound bites. It tackles topics like the supposed failure of the NextGen program, pointing out that since 2010, NextGen has a 96.2% (102 of 106) success rate for meeting and delivering on expected outcomes of its commitments. Citing an FAA report, NATA also says that NextGen benefits are expected to reach $160.6 billion in savings by 2030 based on an investment cost of $35.8 billion.
Other areas addressed include how the success of privatizing ATC in other countries does not compare well to the U.S. system, where the current budget process for FAA funding really stands, and the potential expense and dangers of taking away Congress’s ability to directly intervene in ATC-related issues. The message presented is clear: NATA believes strongly that there are many more factors in favor of improving the current system than in creating another one that involves removing ATC from government oversight.
The 21st Century AIRR Act, approved by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee calls for privatizing ATC. The Senate Commerce Committee approved FAA Reauthorization Act of 2017 keeps it under the auspices of the FAA. Most GA member groups, including GAMA, AOPA, EAA, and NATA have spoken out strongly against the AIRR Act and in favor of the Senate proposal. Groups are encouraging individual members to do the same by contacting their Congressional representatives.
Learn more at NATA or read NATA’s Myths and Facts Surrounding Air Traffic Control Corporatization.