July 27, 2017

COPA Clears Up Privatization Stance


COPA President and CEO Bernard Gervais spent much of his time at AirVenture 2017 clearing up some misconceptions about the Canadian experience with privatized air traffic control.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called for the creation of a not-for-profit private corporation to manage airspace in the U.S., a system similar but not identical to that which has been in operation under Nav Canada for almost 20 years.

Last week, Nav Canada released a NOTAM that banned VFR arrivals at Vancouver International Airport from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.

AOPA has been monitoring the issue in Canada and incorrectly reported that COPA and Canadian pilots in general were upset with the privatized system. They used that sentiment in published news stories to bolster their anti-privatization stance.

“The statement quoted by AOPA does not reflect the position of our organization on this issue, nor was it provided to AOPA by anyone with the authority to speak on behalf of COPA,” Gervais said in a statement. “Unfortunately at no time did AOPA reach out to COPA to provide a comment before their story was published.”

Reporters for AOPA publications were also approaching Canadian pilots looking for negative comments about the Nav Canada system and finding none.

Gervais spoke with senior AOPA officials and the published report was corrected and staff were told to stop pursuing the Canadian angle of the story.