AEA reiterates concerns over President's proposed plan to privatize U.S. air traffic control

LEE'S SUMMIT, MISSOURI, June 5, 2017 -- Following today's announcement by President Donald J. Trump that he proposes a plan to privatize air traffic control in the United States, the Aircraft Electronics Association and a host of general aviation associations joined together to send a letter of response to the president. 

The 16 general aviation organizations reiterated "real and long-standing concerns, which include but are not limited to user fees." In part, the general aviation industry is concerned with the president's proposal that is backed by the commercial airlines, which would turn over congressional oversight of the nation's aviation system to an entity governed by a private board of directors. 

"With the airlines in charge of air traffic control, it's increasingly possible that airport access to general aviation aircraft could become restricted, and that a private organization could be empowered with taxing authority," Derks said. "The volume of air traffic in the United States, including general aviation traffic, far exceeds that of any other nation. Modernizing the nation's aviation system should be the focus and is much more important than privatizing the system, which is the safest in the world."

To highlight those concerns, AEA President Paula Derks, along with AEA Chairman David Loso of Jet Aviation St. Louis, are on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with various congressional leaders and clearly express general aviation's concern over the president's proposed plan. Below is the full text of the joint letter to President Trump from the general aviation associations, or click here to read the letter in its entirety.

June 5, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

This letter is in regard to your address today, which outlined principles for transportation-infrastructure investments, including those related to air traffic control.

Our associations represent the individuals and companies that make up a significant portion of the diverse and interrelated general aviation industry in the United States. This is an industry that generates more than one million jobs, and more than $200 billion for the nation's economy. It is worth noting that the majority of all general aviation in the world today takes place in the U.S. and we appreciate your support for our industry. Simply put, general aviation in America is the envy of the world.

Today, the U.S. air traffic control system is the best in the world, moving more aircraft, more safely and efficiently, than any other country. Working with Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration, aviation stakeholders have been able to ensure that our system operates for the public benefit, providing access for all stakeholders to airports, heliports and airspace, and encouraging competition and innovation.

As you know, for over a year, some big airlines have pushed for a new governance and funding model for our nation's aviation system, based on systems in other parts of the world. The general aviation community has very real and long-standing concerns, which include but are not limited to user fees. These concerns are based on our operating experiences in these foreign systems and the impact they have had on general aviation.

We respectfully request that you provide ample opportunity for all stakeholders and citizens to carefully review, analyze and debate any proposed legislation changing the governance and funding for air traffic control. 


Air Care Alliance
Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Citation Jet Pilots
Commemorative Air Force
Experimental Aircraft Association
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Helicopter Association International
International Council of Air Shows
National Agricultural Aviation Association
National Association of State Aviation Officials
National Air Transportation Association
National Business Aviation Association
Recreational Aviation Foundation
U.S. Parachute Association
Veterans Airlift Command


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Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents nearly 1,300 member companies in more than 40 countries, including approved maintenance organizations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of aircraft electronics systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of aircraft electronics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.