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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Shuster Introduces Bill to Spin Off ATC from Federal Government

Juliet Van Wagenen

Introduced legislation proposes a privatized ATC system
Introduced legislation proposes a privatized ATC system. Photo: U.S. Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

[Avionics Today 02-03-2016] Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo on Feb. 3 introduced the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act, legislation that proposes establishing an independent, not-for-profit corporation, outside of the federal government, to serve as the future provider U.S. Air Traffic Control (ATC) services.

The AIRR Act is a six-year reauthorization of the FAA, and maintains the FAA’s role as the aviation safety regulator for the United States. Under the terms of the bill, the federally chartered ATC corporation would be governed by a board representing the aviation system’s users and the public interest. The comprehensive reauthorization bill also streamlines the FAA’s aviation equipment and aircraft certification processes, provides additional consumer protections, addresses aviation safety issues, gives the FAA more tools for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and provides for airport infrastructure improvements across the country.

“The United States has led the world in aviation since pioneering this modern mode of transportation. We have the safest system in the world, and we will continue to do so under this bill,” said Shuster, who has been pushing for airlines and legislators to consider ATC reform over the past year. “But our system is incredibly inefficient, and it will only get worse as passenger levels grow and as the FAA falls further behind in modernizing the system. Furthermore, the FAA’s overly bureaucratic certification processes are handicapping American companies and causing us to fall behind our competition. The AIRR Act is transformational legislation that prepares the U.S. aviation system for the future, helps ensure a modern, safe system that benefits passengers and the economy, and keeps America competitive in a vital industry.”

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