Evaluating the Proposal to Convert FAA’s Air Traffic Control Organization Into a Nonprofit

There is a growing consensus that the U.S. air traffic control system is not performing as well as it should. While it remains the world’s largest and one of the world’s safest, it is no longer has the most modern equipment, the most efficient airplane routings, or the best technology of any of the world’s air traffic control providers.

The proposal to convert the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System into a nonprofit organization would result in arm’s-length safety regulation, making possible the development of an innovative corporate culture. It would free the ATO from the constraints of the federal budget, with a reliable and bondable revenue stream at a level that makes sense from both an operations and a capital modernization standpoint. It provides for a carefully balanced governing board of aviation stakeholders, enabling serious focus on serving its aviation customers. It provides strong protections for current and future employees. It would exempt—by statute—direct user fees for piston GA and non-commercial turbine aircraft. It provides an appeal process for fees that a user considers unwarranted. And it includes mandates for continued access to the national airspace system for rural areas and small communities.

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