Staking Out – Positions on ATC Reform

The following page was compiled in June of 2017 for the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, which is managed by OFM&K. As the White House and Congress were caught up in debate over whether or not to privatize the air traffic control functions of the Federal Aviation Administration, the firm’s public policy advocacy team researched the issue and provided resources for association members.

The following is not only a useful review of the positions taken on ATC reform by key industry stakeholders, it is also a demonstration of the most basic work performed by the firm: Getting to know an issue that matters to your business.


ARSA is letting the debate on air traffic control reform play out in Congress and with advocacy groups across the country. Though the association isn’t actively involved, its important to understand the sides of an issue that could completely overhaul the air transportation system.

Who’s For It?

Proponents of ATC reform argue the system has become bogged down in government bureaucracy. For evidence, they highlight the FAA’s glacial pace in rolling out the long-touted NextGen Air Transportation System. In order to maintain the American place as leader of the aviation world, they argue, ATC responsibilities must be removed from the executive branch and vested in a non-profit organization composed of both public and private interests and overseen by a stakeholder board.

Who Are They?

[The following list includes non-governmental organizations that have publicly supported privatization. It is not exhaustive. For more information on their positions, click the relevant link.]

Airlines for America
Air Line Pilots Association
Air Traffic Control Association
Citizens for On Time Flights
National Association of Air Traffic Controllers

Who’s Against It?

Opponents of ATC reform recognize the slow-moving nature of government, but see that progress is being made and do not want to upset the system during a time of transition. They argue that the supposed benefits of reform – cost savings, increased efficiency and flexibility – have been overblown and that the successful examples of privatization in other countries are not instructive as the airspace systems are much smaller. They also fear for limitations or eliminations of access to rural communities or non-major airports, as well as a proposed board structure they say instills too much power in major air carriers.

Who Are They?

[The following list includes non-governmental organizations that have publicly opposed privatization. It is not exhaustive. For more information on their positions, click the relevant link.]

Aircraft Electronics Association
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Alliance for Aviation Across America
General Aviation Manufacturers Association
Helicopter Association International
National Air Transportation Association
National Business Aviation Association

What Other Resources Are Out There?

Congressional Budget Office – Analysis of H.R. 4441, Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act of 2016
Congressional Research Service – Air Traffic Inc.: Considerations Regarding the Corporatization of Air Traffic Control
GAO Report – FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Preliminary Observations of Potential Air Traffic Control Restructuring Transition Issues
White House Principles for ATC Reform


To learn more about ARSA’s work on behalf of the maintenance community and flying public, visit ARSA.org.

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