RealClear Politics: Flying Is a Freedom We Should Not Take for Granted

RealClear Politics: Flying Is a Freedom We Should Not Take for Granted

Former astronauts Capt. James Lovell (U.S. Navy, Retired), Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson (U.S. Navy, Retired), Capt. Kenneth Cockrell (U.S. Navy, Retired), and Lt. General Thomas Stafford (U.S. Air Force, Retired) recently wrote an op-ed explaining why privatizing air traffic control would be harmful to the nation’s airspace. These men have seen first-hand what the largest, most complex, safest, and most efficient air traffic control system in the U.S. looks like – and they urge Members of Congress not to separate air traffic control from the FAA. They highlight that privatization would prove detrimental to our nation’s safety and, any bill trying to remove authority of air traffic control from the FAA should not be taken lightly.

Read the full story HERE. 

Former Thunderbird and Blue Angel pilots urge you to help STOP ATC Privatization

Former Thunderbird and Blue Angel pilots urge you to help STOP ATC Privatization

Six former team commanders of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels are forcefully opposing legislation that would privatize U.S. air traffic control services. In a 100-second video produced by the International Council of Air Shows, Greg McWherter (Blue Angels, 2009-2012), Richard McSpadden (Thunderbirds, 2002-2003), Steve Foley (Blue Angels, 2005-2006), Brian Bishop (Thunderbirds, 1998-1999), George Dom (Blue Angels, 1997-1998) and Ron Mum (Thunderbirds, 1996-1997) urge their fellow citizens to contact their congressional representatives to tell them to vote against H.R. 2997 which is currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to these six highly respected former military pilots, nearly 150 aviation organizations around the country are also actively opposing the legislation.

“This is a deeply flawed piece of legislation that is opposed by the vast majority of people who understand the negative implications of this naked power grab by the airlines and their allies,” says John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, the organization that produced the video. “These former military officers are speaking out because they are genuinely concerned that the legislation could permanently damage our country.”

Conservative group asks Shuster to pull FAA bill

Conservative group asks Shuster to pull FAA bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jackie Anderson or Ian Walters (202) 347-9388

Alexandria, VA – The American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) has evaluated H.R. 2997 – The Century AIRR Act to determine whether or not it would actually result in privatizing a public agency. The ACUF has outlined and defined Seven Principles of Privatization that establish a framework necessary to declare whether an entity is actually privatized. While applying these Seven Principles to H.R. 2997 – 21st Century AIRR Act, we utilized a three-tiered grading scale to determine how fully each of these Principles were met. After fully analyzing the degree of consistency with our Seven Principles, the ACUF has determined that the proposed plan would not actually privatize a governmental entity.

While there are some aspects of this legislation that partially hit the mark when it comes to establishing a true private entity – such as allowing the new enterprise to determine capital expenditures, and employing the use of new or innovative technologies – it misses completely when it comes to the actual transfer of power from public to private hands.

Specifically, private enterprises would not be allowed to compete for ownership of the newly created entity, American Air Navigation Services Corporation (AANSC). In fact, the very make up of this entity raises serious questions as to how this transfer of power would work: the U.S. Secretary of Transportation would be given the authority to decide the makeup of employees and approve the fees to fund operations while the Board of Directors, which would include directors appointed by the government, would have to accept existing union contracts.

In addition, the bill language prohibits outside investors as well as the sale of equity shares. Because AANSC would be a not-for-profit corporate entity controlled by the federal government, it would not be possible to shield taxpayers from future liability. Lastly, there is no provision explaining whether or how the new entity would acquire private insurance coverage. It remains an open question whether there would be an insurance carrier willing to underwrite air traffic control risks.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), H.R. 2997 would increase net direct spending by $90.7 billion, increase net deficits by about $20.7 billion, and result in discretionary outlays totaling $52.3 billion over the 2018-2027 period, contributing to the already out-of-control spending problem we desperately need to curtail.

Much like other quasi-private entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, H.R. 2997 would produce a hybrid organization exhibiting both government and private-sector legal characteristics, resulting in a scenario where taxpayers would be exposed to undue risk while the labor costs associated with this new entity would go unchecked.

The ACUF would gladly stand in support of true policy efforts to privatize our air traffic control system that better reflect the ideals of privatization – those that align with a more robust free market and exhibit a true transfer of power from public to private hands.

###

PRIVATIZATION PRINCIPLES AND H.R. 2997

The American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) has outlined and defined Seven Principles of Privatization that establish a framework to determine whether a reform effort results in an agency’s privatization.  We apply a three-tiered grading scale to each of the Seven Principles in this evaluation. After fully analyzing the degree of consistency with our Seven Principles, the ACUF has determined that  H.R. 2997 – 21st Century AIRR Act fails to live up to its billing.
Below are the Seven Principles of Privatization and ACUF’s analysis of the proposed legislation:

1. Privatization transfers enterprise ownership, in whole or in part, to private hands or transfers the use of an asset to private hands for a sufficient time so as to replicate ownership (i.e. a 50 year concession or lease structure). Private enterprises are allowed to compete for the ownership either by bidding for an upfront payment, profit sharing over time or by setting service standards. Examples include the British rail system and the dissolution of government run enterprises in formerly communist countries (e.g. Poland and Czechoslovakia).

HR 2997—Fails to Meet.

Explanation:  Private enterprises are not allowed to compete for the ownership of the “American Air Navigation Services Corporation” (herein, AANSC). In addition, it is very hard to argue that AANSC is even a private entity based on the board composition (see #2, below).

2. Privatization allows the new enterprise to choose its employees and their compensation. Similarly, the board of directors will be comprised exclusively of non-government employees.

HR 2997—Fails to Meet.

Explanation:  The U.S. Secretary of Transportation is given the authority to decide the makeup of employees and the Board of Directors must accept existing union contracts. In addition, the Board will include directors appointed by the government.  In fact, unaffiliated private citizens have no opportunity to secure appointment to the Board.

3. Privatization allows the new enterprise to decide on the price of its product or service.

HR 2997—Fails to Meet.

Explanation:  The U.S. Secretary of Transportation must approve the fees to fund operations of AANSC.

4. Privatization allows the new enterprise to determine capital expenditures and to employ the use of new or innovative technologies, usually subject to some minimum level of operating or service standard.

HR 2997—Partially Meets.

Explanation:  Nothing in the bill language prohibits the AANSC from using new and innovative technologies.  It may also assess and charge fees to meet its financial needs.  However, the Board must submit a fee proposal to the Transportation Secretary for her approval.

5. Privatization allows investors to participate in the process of ownership and to reap the ongoing financial reward associated with their investment or capital outlay.

HR 2997—Fails to Meet.

Explanation:  The bill language prohibits outside investors or the sale of equity shares.

6. Privatization transfers the risk of operation to the private sector.

HR 2997—Partially Meets.

Explanation:  While the bill language explicitly states that the federal government will neither guarantee any debt of the AANSC nor be liable for its debt, there is no provision explaining whether or how the new entity would acquire private insurance coverage. In fact, it remains an open question whether there would be an insurance carrier willing to underwrite air traffic control risks.

7. Privatization ensures the taxpayer’s burden is limited and the quality of the resulting service or product is improved.

HR 2997—Fails to Meet.

Explanation:  Because AANSC is a not-for-profit corporate entity controlled by the federal government, it is not possible to shield taxpayers from future liability.

Small Town Airports Concerned Over Air Traffic Control Privatization

Source: KSFY – ABC

A bill to privatize the air traffic control system and remove it from under FAA control has been a topic of concern over the course of the last few months. Many opponents of privatization are concerned that privatizing air traffic control will give total control of the nation’s airspace to the airlines – ultimately harming general aviation. However, so-called privatization would harm more than general aviation, it would harm small airports and negatively impact their employees and customers that rely on local air ports to connect them with larger hubs. This is the case for the airport in Huron, South Dakota.

Astronauts Oppose H.R. 2997

Astronauts Oppose H.R. 2997

Jim Lovell, Robert “Hoot” Gibson, Kenneth Cockrell and Thomas Stafford are retired NASA astronauts, whose collective experience includes serving as Commander of Apollo 13 mission, Commander of Apollo 10 in May 1969, piloting the first Space Shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir, and five-time Space Shuttle crew member. Hear why they oppose privatizing air traffic control.

 

 

OPINION: Privatization Is Not The Answer For Our ATC System

Source: NYC Aviation

The airlines have been pushing for privatization of the nation’s air traffic control system; however, someone who worked with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Eastern Region NextGen, ATO and Airports divisions speaks out against the dangers of privatization and the issues it would cause for the air traffic control system. In this opinion piece, David J. Williams, an aviation safety specialist, discusses the reasons why so-called privatization would hurt our transportation system by dispelling the myths the airlines are using to push for privatization of our air traffic control system.

Air Traffic Control Bill May Not Be Good For General Aviation

Source: Andalusia Star News

South Alabama Regional Airport board members have learned about H.R. 2997, which would privatize air traffic control and separate it from the FAA. Needless to say, there are some concerns regarding general aviation. Many rural airports that are serviced by general aviation members would be severely hurt and could receive less funding and potentially implantation of fees if the bill passes. Many rural communities would be hurt and left without transportation to other parts of the country, which spells disaster for local economies.

Guess What Happened When The UK Privatized Their ATC System

Source: Hot Air

Reviewing privatization of other countries air traffic control is helpful when our system is trying to be privatized. What happens when these cases turn out to be negatively impacting a nation’s economy and hurting general aviation? The United Kingdom privatized their air traffic control system and it… isn’t going well. The system is in complete meltdown and needs substantial reworking to get back to a better system. There have been increases in delays and things don’t seem to be getting any better.

ATC Privatization in the UK Has Resulted in a “Total Meltdown”

Source: Alliance for Aviation Across America

Recently, the Alliance for Aviation Across America provided a thorough analysis of the privatized air traffic control system in the United Kingdom. The analysis looks at different stories from the U.K. and explains what has happened to the system. Currently, it is in “total meltdown”. This is what true privatization looks like, what would happen if we turned over our nation’s air traffic control system the airlines? Our nation’s airspace is a public commodity, giving the airlines control of the airspace would be like giving the highways over to trucking companies.

Trump’s air traffic overhaul would add $100B to deficit, says new analysis

Members of the House of Representatives requested a score of the bill H.R. 2997, which looks to privatize air traffic control and take authority of the airspace and give it to the airlines. What they found was a larger deficit, and a smaller chance of passage; the bill would add $100 billion to the national deficit, giving this unnecessary plan a very expensive price tag. Keeping air traffic control under the FAA is not only a matter of safety, but now it’s a matter of cost.

Review the full article hereThe Hill