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It’s been said that these are nine of the scariest words in America. We all know that government overreach and over-regulation is a burden to our businesses and way of life. So, any time we can eliminate government from the equation it’s a good thing, right?

One such proposal gaining traction today is one that affects everyone who flies whether on airlines, business jets or plain old general aviation from two-seaters to powered hang gliders.

The US House is proposing to take the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system and “privatize” it. Sounds good. Get government out of the operations and it’s gotta be better.

Well not necessarily. As they say, the devil is in the details and there are a lot of details!

Fact is HR2997 would give the airlines and their associated industries almost complete control over the nation’s ATC operations including using tax money and the oganization would no longer be under the oversight of the Congress.

The so-called privatization of the ATC system would result in a new non-profit being created to oversee the operations. Unfortunately, it would put the fox in charge of the hen house and cause unnecessary problems for all of us whether we fly as a passenger on a 777 or as a pilot in command of a Piper Cub or a hobbyist hang glider.

The rationale is that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is too cumbersome, moves too slowly and costs too much to administer and modernize our ATC system. This rationale is not without some credence but it’s mainly used because the supporters of privatization know the level of distrust of anything government is high extremely high today. They are hoping you don’t ask too many questions about it.

It’s a documented fact that the United States has the largest, the safest, most efficient, most complex, and most diverse airspace systems in the world.There can and should be improvements made to the system to keep all those things but it should not be done in such a way as to give pretty much carte blanche control to the airlines.

It’s also a documented fact that other countries that have privatized their systems have had issues including fee increases. HR2997 does not propose to end the government taxes that are collected for this purpose today. It proposes to turn them over to this new non-profit but “trust us”, it will all be OK and work out.

I don’t know about you, but Ronald Reagan’s “trust but verify” rings loud in my ears when I hear such things! The data from other countries doesn’t show this to be the case and it doesn’t show it to be any more economically effective than our current system.

If you’ve traveled much, you have likely been impacted by delays at one point or another. Data
shows that about 80% of all delays are weather related. You know what most of the other delays are associated with? You guessed it, airline scheduling/over-scheduling.

We’ve also seen some very unpleasant outcomes when the airlines over book/over schedule. Fortunately, they are not the rule, but we have seen airlines who have not handled these over scheduling and over booking situations well and the resulting consequences to passengers because of it.

Now the proposal is to put the entities who are responsible for over booking flights, ground and other delays caused by over scheduling and even slow to modernize themselves in charge of the world’s largest ATC system. Does that sound reasonable to you?

HR2997 is a bill that is not ready for prime-time but like many things that aren’t, such as the bad news healthcare reform not replace bill passed by the House, they are trying to rush it through before they go on another vacation.

Time is of the essence!

Would you take a little bit of your time to contact your US Representative and let them know you oppose HR2997CLICK HERE to get more info and contact your Congressman’s office.

We need to update and modernize our ATC system but let’s do it in a way that will ensure equal access to our national airspace to all taxpayers!

 

Carl Bearden
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