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General Aviation Collective Efforts Halt U.S. ATC Privatization

May 14th, 2018

In 2017, the general aviation (GA) community came together to defeat proposed legislation that would have privatized air traffic control (ATC) services in the United States. The concerted and coordinated efforts of more than 250 aviation organizations forced the airlines, and Bill Shuster, the powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to abandon the concept.


"The proposed privatization of ATC services was a bad idea that would have been particularly harmful to air shows and the air show community," said ICAS President John Cudahy. "Working closely with the entire GA community, ICAS and its members helped defeat this ill-considered government giveaway to the airlines. We made a difference and the entire air show business should feel very proud."


From the beginning, ICAS took a forceful and public position against the proposed legislation and rallied its members and air show fans to express their opposition to elected officials. As part of that effort, ICAS posted and advertised against the legislation on social media, encouraged members to write letters to their congressional representatives, and created three well-received videos of aviation icons denouncing the legislation.


In addition to ICAS’s initiatives, notable GA advocates included the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). But the effort also included the help, support and grassroots organizing efforts of the South Dakota Flying Association, the Washington Seaplane Pilots Association, and the General Aviation Council of Hawaii.


“I’ve been involved in the association business for 35 years and I have never seen this kind of highly focused effort by a consortium of organizations to accomplish a common goal,” said Cudahy. “It was really quite inspiring to see what we could accomplish as a group moving together in the same direction.”