The White House proposed privatizing air traffic control in a budget outline released March 16. The plan would “shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-government organization.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), ranking Member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said the proposal is “going nowhere in the Senate.”
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed legislation last year that would have privatized air traffic control and imposed user fees on Part 135 charter operations based outside Alaska and Hawaii. The proposal was supported by some major airlines and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, but it failed to make it to the House floor amid strong bipartisan criticism.
Those criticisms have continued.
Last month, the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee sent a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Nelson opposing privatization.
More recently, Grover Norquist, president of the conservative Americans for Tax Reform, sent a letter raising a number of concerns to House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who has led recent efforts on Capitol Hill to privatize air traffic control. Norquist wrote that Shuster’s plan could result in “increased economic and financial burdens,” and he also questioned provisions designed “to appease union interests.”