NBAA: ATC Battle, Airport Access Top 2018 Challenges

The battle over the fate of the nation’s air traffic control system, airport access, and personnel shortages remain among the leading challenges confronting the business aviation community in 2018, said National Business Aviation Association president and CEO Ed Bolen.

In a new edition of NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider, Bolen outlined key issues facing the industry as 2018 kicks off. “At the top of the list will be the airlines’ continuing effort to replace congressional oversight of the nation’s ATC system with a private group unaccountable to Congress,” Bolen said. “Although a diverse coalition of opponents, including NBAA members, have made forceful arguments against ATC privatization legislation authored by Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), it would be na├»ve to believe the airlines have given up on trying to gain control of the ATC system.”

Bolen Issues Warning Call on ATC Privatization

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Bolen Issues Warning Call on ATC Privatization

The NBAA head says this latest attempt to float the privatization scheme may be the most serious yet.

He also pointed to local issues that have national implications, such as legal challenges over the fate of Santa Monica Airport in California and access to New York’s East Hampton Airport. “A primary function of NBAA is to help ensure that business aviation retains equitable access to airports and airspace,” he said, adding that the association is awaiting work on its legal challenge to overturn an agreement between the FAA and the city of Santa Monica that allows the airport to close by 2028.

While aviation advocates prevailed in the courts last year over access to East Hampton Airport, Bolen warned, “Airport opponents continue to seek operating restrictions, which means we need to remain vigilant.”

Another growing challenge facing NBAA members, he said, is attracting and retaining talent. “The personnel shortage has become more pronounced recently, as the airlines offer attractive pay and benefits in order to recruit some of our best people,” he added, noting that the NBAA and its committees are working to address these concerns and plan to expand efforts in this area. He said that the NBAA already engages in efforts such as scholarships and offers insights in Business Aviation Insider on dealing with these challenges.