Already Much to Celebrate in 2018

April 17, 2018

(Originally published in the Q1 Aviation Business Journal)

This year is off to an exciting start for NATA, its members and the entire general aviation community. I’m confident you’ve now heard of the industry’s success in combating the proposal to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system, and I want to thank you for your engagement and perseverance throughout this monumental effort. The combined force of NATA, our industry partners, Congressional advocates and each one of you who shared your concerns about the detrimental impact of this proposal, ensured our victory on this front. This result would not have happened if not for you. As we move toward long-term funding for the FAA, NATA remains vigilant on issues in the FAA reauthorization bill affecting sectors of our industry including air ambulance, aircraft
registration and a proposal to eliminate the barrier between commercial and private pilots and flights. With your continued support, NATA will work with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune and Congress to advocate for a long-term FAA bill that protects the interests of the aviation business community. It is vital that we continue our efforts to protect our nation’s airspace system—the safest in the world.

In addition to long-term reauthorization, NextGen modernization and deployment continue to be top priorities. The goal of NextGen is to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of our nation’s airspace system as it expands to accommodate growing demands. ADS-B is one of the foundations of NextGen, helping to improve situational awareness, safety and operational efficiency for pilots and controllers. As a member of the Equip 2020 Plenary and Working Group, NATA is working with the FAA on ADS-B outreach and implementation efforts. With projections indicating a 2 percent increase in air traffic over the next decade, we want to direct your attention to the increasingly-pressing issue of ADS-B Out compliance. Please be sure to read the informative guide, “Straight Talk About ADS-B,” republished with permission from our friends at Duncan Aviation (page 49).

NATA is also pleased to be a driver in increasing aviation safety with the launch of the Safety 1st Fuel QC Management System (Safety 1st FQMS)—a leap forward in fuel quality control. As an FBO owner, I know first-hand just how crucial comprehensive fuel quality control management is to safety. In an industry adept at leveraging technology to improve a range of functions, moving fuel quality record-keeping and management from a paper-based system to a digital cloud based system is essential to safety and efficiency. The Safety 1st FQMS improves accountability and visibility into an operation’s fuel quality control system, benefiting aircraft operators with the transparency created by the system’s ability to support remote records audits. More information about this revolutionary system can be found in Tim Obitts’ column on page 7 and Michael France’s article on page 77. We would be remiss in talking about aviation fuel quality control without recognizing that our industry lost a unique fuel quality pioneer early this year, Howard Gammon, a leader in developing testing procedures for aviation fuel handling, who designed and manufactured equipment we use every day. We will miss Howard, but his legacy will continue each time a line technician uses Gammon equipment to perform a safety check. Please help NATA commemorate his vast accomplishments on page 9.

While there is already much to celebrate this year, so much more is planned. As always, NATA will be at the forefront on issues and advances for the aviation business community.


More Ahead for 2018

January 4, 2018

Our recent 2017 Aviation Leadership Conference capped off a successful year of NATA training and member events. As we look ahead to 2018, more good things are on the horizon as your association seeks to expand the reach of its training, events and policymaking presence. This year’s Leadership Conference gave us the opportunity to say goodbye to an old friend, FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta, as he enters the last few months of his tenure. We also heard from Representatives Rick Larsen and Steve Russell as they provided us with an update from the front lines of the seemingly endless battle to prevent what I have dubbed “the airlinization” of our nation’s air traffic control system.

As you well know, aviation is a constantly evolving landscape that we must keep on top of if we are to continue to operate safe and successful businesses. To this end, two popular speakers—CNN’s Matt Lewis and the Teal Group’s Richard Aboulafia—returned to update us on political and industry events from the past year and let us know what we can expect moving forward. Other session topics ranged across the aviation business world with discussions on trends in the MRO market, aviation safety, and business aircraft emissions and sustainable alternative jet fuel.

By far, the panel that most captured the attention of our members centered on a discussion of FBO economics that included pilots, FBOs, airports and fuelers. As you know, the FAA’s role in the oversight of airports and regulation of FBOs is one that has generated significant discussion within the general aviation community. We appreciated AOPA providing their perspective as the industry works to a clear resolution on these issues. NATA does not shy away from controversial issues and I made the decision back in July that we would bring together the key players in a format that allowed for open and candid exchange. As you will see in Ellen Miller’s related article (page 51), the format and panel composition worked out well, and I hope those frank discussions lead to greater understanding and collaborative consensus going forward.

Let me also recognize the generous sponsors who helped make the Leadership Conference such a success including: Air BP, Atlantic Aviation, Aviation Management Consulting Group, Capital Bank, Hill Aircraft, Jet Aviation, Lynx FBO Network, Napa Jet Center, Pentastar Aviation, Ross Aviation, Signature Flight Support, TAC Air and World Fuel Services.

I am pleased to report that 2017 was a solid year financially for the association. The success of our programs and events allowed the association to further build on its strategic reserves. Safety 1st had another year of strong member participation and our new subscription-based program is allowing us to expand the availability of this important training to more companies and more employees than ever. Our insurance partners distributed millions of dollars in good experience returns to the hundreds of member companies that participate in our workers compensation insurance programs. NATA Compliance Services also had a successful 2017, finalizing a Memorandum of Agreement with the TSA that will allow it to continue serving the GA community
through 2021. We are also excited about its launch of CrewID.aero, combining the industry’s flight and ground crew credentials in addition to real time verification of qualifications in conjunction with Safety 1st.

Looking ahead to 2018, if there were one word to describe what we have planned I would say—“more.” We are building on our successful inaugural series of NATA Industry Town Hall meetings with eight more planned all over the country. I hope you will come out and join us. These meetings have been invaluable for us to learn the issues uppermost in our members’ minds, in one instance providing us the intelligence we needed to quickly address a certification issue at the FAA.

More exciting new products and services will be coming to you in 2018 and I commend to you Tim Obitts’ related column that discusses how NATA develops its products and services. I also hope you will review Bill Deere’s article on our Washington, DC, activities in 2017 and what you can expect in 2018 as lawmakers must stand before their constituents again in what are already being called pivotal mid-term congressional elections.

Finally, let me thank you again for your support and assistance in 2017. Our members are our strength, and without your support and professional expertise NATA could not be such a success. I hope you and your families all have a happy and safe holiday season.

Republished from the Q4 Aviation Business Journal.

 


NATA — Growing and Evolving To Meet Our Members’ Needs

October 3, 2017

As I reach the end of my first year at the helm of NATA, I want to report to you on how I see the state of the association, particularly in the context of my inaugural remarks to you.

Our first and highest responsibility to you is fiduciary. While NATA is a trade association, it is also a business, and for this enterprise to be successful we must operate in a responsible manner. On that front, I am very pleased. As we enter the final quarter of 2017, NATA is in excellent financial shape, a combination of conservative budgeting and the augmentation of member dues with products and services that help you compete in the marketplace.

While our Safety 1st program continues to provide industry-leading ground handling training, we are not resting on our laurels. The NATA Safety Committee and association staff are hard at work on the refresh of Safety 1st, ensuring its enviable status as the gold standard in ground handling training will continue for the foreseeable future. I am proud of our recently concluded, first-ever, Ground Handling Safety Symposium, because it represents what I think is the best of NATA—an association growing and evolving to meet our members’ needs.

The Symposium was developed by our Safety Committee to explore the challenges of ground handling in a collaborative environment, allowing participants to interact with experts and industry colleagues. It wasn’t just about spending a day and a half listening to speakers, the Symposium included open forum discussions led by members of the Committee.

Other members take advantage of our Workers Compensation Insurance Programs, underwritten by industry leaders Allianz and QBE, both featuring a good experience return. In other words, a safe year for plan participants means a rebate, which has been averaging more than 20 percent for our over 800 company participants.

On the Part 135 side, we offer the industry products, including loss of license insurance and access to Known Crewmember® through NATA Compliance Services. Programs like these help our charter operators compete in a very demanding market to attract and retain pilots.

These products are developed in consultation with our members and that requires us to hit the road, making sure our contact with the membership goes beyond the association’s policy committees to include input from members in every region of the country. I made that a priority for 2017, asking my two Executive Vice Presidents, Bill Deere and Tim Obitts to join me on the road. Tim and Bill pursued that with enthusiasm, among other things working with the Air Charter Committee to launch a series of well-received NATA Air Charter and Industry Town Halls. From Portland, OR to Greenville, SC to Chicago, IL to Dallas, TX, we have listened to your concerns and taken the opportunity to share the value proposition of NATA membership. I am particularly proud that our recent success resolving a compliance issue stopping air charter operators from adding Pilatus PC-12 aircraft to their certificates was a direct result of member interaction at an NATA Town Hall.

Our products and services are the “currency” through which we provide advocacy and, believe me, aviation businesses are in the midst of a very challenging year on the advocacy front. NATA, along with other leading general aviation associations, are in a battle with the airlines over the future management of the air traffic control system. To lose this fight—for the airlines to, in essence, take over management of the air traffic control system—I believe would forever change general aviation as we know it in this country. Let me acknowledge the attendees at NATA’s Aviation Business Conference in June, who took time out of their schedules to travel to Capitol Hill and visit with lawmakers, sharing the concerns of the entire aeronautical service provider community.

That is not our only advocacy challenge. We have been confronting an attack on aviation businesses from within the general aviation community itself, an initiative by a national pilot organization to impose economic regulation on FBO pricing. While we will continue to meet rhetoric with fact-based response, I believe this diverts precious time and resources away from the issue on which we should be united—the threat to general aviation posed by the airlines.

If we do not prevail in this struggle, it will likely render moot any further discussions about the pricing of general aviation services.

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that NATA’s advocacy is purely defensive. In fact, I am pleased to report that our member-driven advocacy is also showing positive results, at both the FAA and on Capitol Hill.

All in all, it has been quite a first year for me as your president. I want to thank you for your ongoing support of me and the association. As we move forward together, please know that hearing from you with your concerns and ideas is both important and necessary to the ongoing success of NATA and our industry.

Republished from the 2017 Q3 Aviation Business Journal.


The Leading Voice of Aviation Business

June 23, 2017

Since taking the helm at NATA, I have come to recognize that our members join the association for a variety of reasons. Some take advantage of the products and services we provide to help their business run safely and successfully. Others find participation in our policy committees or two annual industry conferences an important part of their interaction with, and opportunity to give back to, the industry. Advocacy does not always rise to a first-order consideration. It’s difficult to quantify, though many members recognize the behind-thescenes advocacy work of an association often prevents bad ideas from taking root, still other members see it as a type of insurance—there when you need it. Right now, advocacy is more important than ever, as NATA members confront proposals that threaten our industry from both within the general aviation community and as well as from without.

Bill Deere’s column this quarter discusses how the nation’s airlines proffer various myths as facts in their quest to create an air traffic control corporation. Tim Obitts looks at a legal aspect to NATA advocacy, our recent Supreme Court filing in support of a member company caught up in the IRS interpretation of the applicability of Federal Excise Taxes to aircraft management services. Unfortunately, I need to discuss a threat to our industry from within, specifically the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) assertions that FBOs and airports are maximizing their respective revenue streams in a manner that is unfair to pilots. Despite the best efforts of NATA, its member companies and others in the general aviation community, AOPA is requesting the FAA require either FBOs to provide no-cost access to ramps and facilities or airports to provide pilots with free public ramp space.

For those of you unfamiliar with the situation, in late November of last year, the FAA met with Bill and his regulatory team, and informed them that AOPA planned to meet with the agency in December to discuss FBO pricing. That meeting occurred in late December, and shortly after the holidays, NATA was contacted by the FAA requesting we provide our perspective. AOPA’s documents (which we have posted online at http://www.nata.aero) revealed an eleven-month campaign and included a cursory review of leases at a select few public-use airports, as well as pricing information derived from AirNav data, concluding:

  • Widespread FBO industry consolidation is harming the general aviation user
  • A compelling need exists to oversee the business relationship between airports and FBOs
  • Analogized FBOs to utilities—wants FAA to explore oversight mechanisms for prices.

In response to AOPA’s concerns, NATA presented an overview, “The State of the FBO Industry,” (also available on the frontpage of our website) to the FAA. The summary, developed with the assistance of our FBO and air charter members, discusses the costs of operating airport businesses and the many variables that go into determining pricing structure, including capital invested, lease duration, fuel volume, personnel expenses, hours of operation, and traffic types. The FAA is in the process of reviewing our comments as well as those from other stakeholders. I was proud of the NATA staff and members who helped develop our response. This is NATA and its members working in the best tradition of trade associations—meeting rhetoric with fact.

The May edition of AOPA’s Pilot magazine highlighted their FBO initiative and chose to attack the FAA for asking stakeholders to comment on its call for economic regulation of FBOs. The association even criticized NATA for bringing its eleven-month campaign to your attention.

As your president, I take seriously my responsibility to present the facts in a straightforward manner. NATA is not going to be the association that cries, “Wolf!” Despite claims to the contrary, AOPA’s documents speak for themselves. Its presentation compares FBOs to public utilities and requests the agency examine oversight mechanisms in other industries as possible models. That is a pure and straightforward move toward economic regulation. While it claims to support FBOs and the free market, there is no recognition of the fact that some locations require different pricing models. Among other things, the AOPA proposal requires FBOs to assume the security and safety liabilities associated with utilizing your business–without compensation. The decision to assess a facility charge, particularly when there are no purchases of fuel or services, should be yours and not imposed by law or regulation.

Importantly, there are existing FAA mechanisms to address situations where an FBO or airport is violating grant assurance requirements to furnish services on a “reasonable, and not unjustly discriminatory, basis to all users thereof.” Neither NATA nor its members support those violating that important assurance, which would also represent a breach of faith with their customers.

Many of you rightly ask whether I have met with Mark Baker, the President of AOPA. I have; and, while I do not believe it is appropriate to share confidential conversations or comments of others publicly, let’s simply say that, on this issue, we have significantly different positions. However, I can also attest that, on other important issues, the two associations continue their tradition of joint work toward the benefit of all general aviation.

Let me close by saying, “thank you.” I have been heartened by your ongoing support and am gratified by your continuing offers of assistance. Be assured NATA will continue to meet rhetoric with facts in support of free enterprise.

NATA is–and will remain–the leading voice of aviation business.

Republished from the 2017 Q2 Aviation Business Journal.


In It Together

April 11, 2017

As a fellow aviation business owner, like you, I understand our industry is a vast and interrelated eco-system. It’s critical that we not limit our relationships solely to our customers but also to cultivate a wider range of relationships that includes the airport, local government and the community as a whole. First and foremost, the success of our businesses relies on a prosperous and healthy airport. So we are using this edition of Aviation Business Journal to highlight the importance of the relationship between our businesses, our airports and the communities they serve.

Since taking the helm of NATA last fall, I have had the opportunity to interact with the leadership of the nation’s aviation associations. Two of the relationships I have come to value and enjoy most are with the heads of the leading organizations that represent airports, Kevin Burke, President of Airports Council International-North America and Todd Hauptli, President of the American Association of Airport Executives.

All three of us recognize that while tenants and landlords will always be involved in business negotiations, more issues unite us than divide us. By sharing perspectives on issues confronting our firms and airports, we can strengthen the overall airport-tenant relationship and identify matters we can address together. I am delighted that Kevin and Todd feel so strongly about their relationship with NATA that they agreed to share their perspectives in this edition of ABJ. As you will see in Todd’s column, NATA partnered with AAAE to create an airport-tenant working group to foster this important communication process.

In the current political and economic climate, our airport partners have challenges. If left unaddressed, these problems will directly impact our businesses. Of course, the biggest is funding. Federal airport funding remains flat, and though larger airports have the ability to secure additional money through Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs), those dollars now equate to half the spending power since last adjusted in 2007.

The latest survey of capital needs from Kevin’s organization indicates airport needs over the next five years are three times the amount airports can currently expect to receive from Airport Improvement Program grants and PFC revenues. This capital challenge is real at many of the general aviation and non-primary airports at which we operate, where airports are limited to $150,000 in entitlement funding per year. Solutions include more than just a commitment to increasing funding, but a review of FAA regulations that can increase the costs of airport projects and extend the timelines for completion.

On the opposite side of the coin, airports are seeing the evolution in our businesses. As leases come up for renewal, many communities are seeking greater levels of investment in order to create high-end gateway facilities to their communities. The increasing efficiency of aircraft also impacts our business models. An FBO’s primary competitor may no longer be a competing operation on the same airport, but rather another airport nearby, or the airport where the plane came from or at its final destination. The retreat of the airlines from many communities, 50 alone in the past couple of years, has created opportunities for our Part 135 and Part 91k members to restore important connectivity for these areas to the rest of our nation. Other changes in our industry that airports carefully monitor include the changing nature of the piston-powered community, FBO consolidation, nascent customer networks and the increasing number of airport-operated FBOs.

I hope you have the opportunity to review our feature story this issue, highlighting the work of the Aeroplex/Aerolease Group, which creates success through an emphasis on collaboration with other tenants, the airport and the community for the benefit of all.

After all, we’re in it together.

Republished from the 2017 Q1 Aviation Business Journal.


International, Innovation and Investment in NATA

June 20, 2016

Greetings from Washington! With Congress still looking for a path forward on a long-term FAA reauthorization and the ongoing controversy surrounding the House Transportation Committee proposal to split the FAA into public and private organizations, it is as important as ever to remain engaged, informed and active in helping your NATA staff communicate directly and effectively with your nation’s lawmakers. Bill Deere provides the latest information as we go to press in his column. Please help us ensure our voice remains strong and consistent. NATA continues to make progress on several other fronts. Here are a few highlights.

NATA’s international presence continues to grow rapidly and Safety 1st products are leading the way. Tim Obitts, our Senior Vice President of Membership and Business Development and Mike France, NATA’s Managing Director of Safety and Training just recently returned from attending EBACE in Geneva, Switzerland. NATA’s presence and the buzz around our industry-leading Safety 1st training programs are driving greatly increased international interest and adoption. By working with the International Business Aviation Council to roll out the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH), NATA’s footprint is now rapidly growing abroad. To help showcase this continued growth, the NATA staff recently created an interactive electronic world map on NATA’s website for members to see where Safety 1st and NATA are expanding (www.fbostatus.com or www.groundhandlerstatus.com). Please take a look and see which of your competitors is taking advantage of this world class training. In addition, we can use member assistance in reaching out to those in the industry that are advertising NATA membership and Safety 1st Training, yet are not currently participating as either NATA members or Safety 1st graduates. This creates a potential competitive disadvantage for those continuing to support the expansion and continued improvement of this clearly top shelf training. Please let us know if you are aware of anyone mistakenly advertising their participation so we can follow up with some outreach to clear up any misunderstandings.

This quarter’s Aviation Business Journal features a very interesting article on JetSuite’s foray into scheduled Part 135 operations in the Western U.S. As the major airlines continue to reduce service to smaller markets and regional airlines struggle to fill cockpit seats, this is creating vacuums and for some, opportunities. NATA members are all very entrepreneurial and agile. This is clearly evident by those that successfully navigated the post financial crisis downturn. Member companies like JetSuite continue to look for opportunities to create their own niche and hopefully, success, in the marketplace. Many industry veterans might view these innovative efforts with some degree of skepticism, but let’s face it, the economy, consumers and the competitive landscape are all evolving and NATA’s members are always looking for new paths to ensure success.

Over these last few years, NATA’s voice in Washington has grown stronger; however, the need to ensure general aviation businesses continue as a stronger voice in Washington is greater than ever. As I often like to say, for some, a strong trade association is like insurance—you only need it when you need it. Fortunately for all of us, leaders from around the world recognize that by unifying business leaders around a common purpose, the industry’s destiny is much more controllable as long as the foundation is built upon an active and engaged membership.

As NATA kicks off the second annual Aviation Business Conference in Washington, please recommit to attending and supporting the unique opportunity this member-driven conference presents. The ability to speak directly with the TSA Administrator or the FAA’s top regulator or key Congressmen and Senators or to network with colleagues to generate new business opportunities are great reasons to attend this event. Take advantage of the convenience meetings such as this provide to foster multiple parts of your businesses’ growth strategy. The Aviation Business Conference is sure to provide many opportunities and attending helps support NATA’s efforts in Washington.

Please lend your support and plan to spend some time with NATA’s staff while attending any of our events. They all do a great job of helping tell the story of aviation businesses growing, innovating and investing in the economy, both here and around the world.

Republished from Q2 2016 Aviation Business Journal


Greetings from Washington!

April 22, 2016

As we go to press with this ABJ issue, NATA is in the midst of an intense lobbying campaign to help shape the House version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill titled, “The Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act. Our Senior Vice President for Government and External Affairs, Bill Deere, will provide a fuller “from the trenches” view of our team’s lobbying efforts; but, before that, let’s cover a few points on NATA’s multi-year strategy that is now bearing fruit as we ensure that the Voice of Aviation Business is heard loudly and clearly by legislators and other policy makers. NATA began laying the groundwork for this ongoing effort almost four years ago. By quietly and respectfully building key relationships, NATA’s reputation, relevance and view as an “honest broker” in Washington is yielding needed access, at this critical time, that is vital to ensuring your voice is heard. Throughout this period, NATA’s team sought solutions and focused on listening to both our members and policy makers.

At the same time, through multiple meetings with lawmakers and administration officials, our staff worked diligently to educate the Hill and federal agencies on NATA’s unique and critical membership and how seemingly well-intended policy prescriptions can have a detrimental impact on small businesses.

This provided the framework to develop thoughtful and member-driven policy positions for this key legislation. Further, to be most effective, these are relationships that must endure over time. It is folly to view policy debates as zero-sum game transactions. While we sometimes disagree with key policy makers, we continue to be respectful and solution oriented. Why is this so critical? The politics of Washington will grind on long after the fate of one piece of legislation is decided. Maintaining long-term, respectful relationships is the most effective way to guarantee the enduring effectiveness of NATA long into the future.

House Transportation Committee Chairman Shuster released the specific language of the AIRR Act on February 3, 2016, then very quickly followed with a hearing six days later, and a full committee vote the following day. Although Chairman Shuster revealed some broad details over the last year, NATA did not have access to the bill’s language prior to its release. Going back to our point on enduring relationships, we made the decision to “keep our powder dry” and focus on the specifics of the bill prior to launching our advocacy campaign. We did this to ensure we maximized the efforts of NATA’s members at the most appropriate time so our message to lawmakers was not diluted by the passage of time or lack of volume. This strategy is paying off as we speak, but there is still a lot of fighting left to do to ensure aviation businesses remain a key part of this discussion.

With this as a backdrop, here are some key NATA observations on House Transportation Committee Chairman Congressman Bill Shuster’s AIRR Act:

  • On balance, the bill that passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will, in the long term, hurt general aviation businesses. In the U.S., we enjoy the safest, most complex, most diverse system in the world with unparalleled access for general aviation. Contrary to views often driven by academics and economists, from an operator perspective, the air traffic control (ATC) system works very well.
  • A sound bite often tossed around Washington refers to our ATC system as based on “WWII technology.” I invite any proponents of corporatizing ATC to spend some time in any enroute center in the country, the FAA Command Center in Warrenton, VA, the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ, or any of a host of truly high-technology Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities around the nation. Yes, we do use radar as one of the technologies to provide surveillance of aircraft. Other surveillance technologies, including GPS and multi-lateration, are also currently being “fused” with radar data at these high tech facilities. For a point of reference, we also continue to use electricity, first introduced into our homes in the late 19th century. So, just because a particular technology endures, does not necessarily minimize its relevance. ATC is difficult to discuss in sound bites or elevator pitches. It requires a deep operational perspective to truly understand the impacts of massive change to such a highly developed, safe and stable system.
  • We are in no way apologists for the FAA’s struggles in rolling out large modernization programs. The FAA is making progress, albeit slower than anticipated. This is frustrating. However, it is important to understand and reset expectations about the degree of change that is possible and appropriate. Over a decade ago, policy makers in Washington introduced the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System – NextGen. Looking back now, the expectations about the ability to modernize the air traffic control system were unrealistic; and corporatizing the current system will do nothing to ease the challenges ahead. In the meantime, and rarely acknowledged, the FAA successfully built and is integrating three foundational technologies that are providing the framework for future success. Enroute Automation Modernization (ERAM) is now operational at all of the nation’s high altitude enroute centers. The ADS-B ground network is in place and provides surveillance and vital safety information today. And finally, Digital Data Communications (DATACOMM) is rapidly growing at key airports, including Teterboro.
  • Somewhat surprising for a transportation issue, the debate has become infused with ideology, “government—bad, private enterprise—always good.” While we do agree that more private-sector practices would greatly benefit the FAA, we are also urging caution based on the history of other similar efforts. It’s clear that creating government-backed enterprises is no panacea. Organizations similar to the proposed ATC corporation include Sallie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Red Cross, and the Smithsonian and have met with very mixed results.
  • The proposed corporation will, over time, be dominated by the commercial airlines. The long-term impact of this is likely reduced service to small and rural communities with a further reduction of investment in safety-enhancing high technologies in those locations. Why would an airline-dominated board want to invest in areas of the country that they currently don’t, and likely never will, serve?
  • Absent the move to corporatize air traffic control in the U.S., many of the remaining provisions of the Shuster legislation are helpful and will improve the current system. This is a direct result of NATA’s approach to educating our nation’s policy makers on the vital role that general aviation businesses play in the nation’s economy.

Finally, please stay informed with all the tools provided by NATA. Visit http://www.nata.aero/nocorporation to contact your elected representatives and explain that the AIRR Act is bad for small businesses and general aviation. Actions like these are very effective and make a difference. Legislators listen to voters and job creators. Invite your Congressmen and Senators out to your business to show them how important the jobs you provide are to the local community. The time for engagement is upon us. Please stay in touch and let us know how we can help.

Republished from Q1 2016 Aviation Business Journal