In an unusual divergence of opinion between aviation related organizations concerning progress in the operation and development of the national air traffic system, the Airline Owners and Pilots Association (“AOPA”), the nationwide organization of private aircraft owners, opposes the plan set forth in the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2997 (“AIRR Act”). That plan calls for the air traffic control (“ATC”) system currently managed by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) to be removed from federal government control, and turned over to a 13 member, largely private, board, the dominant members of which are the nation’s commercial airlines. See § 90305.
The apparent rationale behind the shift, heavily supported by the commercial airline industry, is the consistent delays and resulting costs in fuel and efficiency that have been endemic to the ground based radar air traffic control system in effect since World War II. The airline industry maintains that insufficient progress has been made in expediting operations to accommodate the increasing number of operations in the United States airspace. The commercial airlines’ position is supported by the legislative purpose which is “to provide for more efficient operations and improvement of air traffic services.” See § 201.
AOPA, on the other hand, relies on examples of the disputed improvements in system management which it maintains undercut the airline industry rationale for pursuing privatization.