Trump, Rep. Davis seek to privatize United States air traffic control system
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 16:05
President Donald Trump plans to modernize United States air traffic control systems, while transferring operations from a federal oversight body to a self-financing nonprofit organization.
The move is part of a weeklong focus on proposals to improve the country's infrastructure, Efe reported.
Gary Cohn, Trump's economic adviser who helped design the infrastructure plan, told the New York Times that taxpayers would incur no cost for the planned updates to the air traffic control system.
Sources who spoke to NBC Bay Area said the plan could help provide a more reliable funding source for air traffic control but worry almost one-third of the country's certified controllers could opt to retire with little warning if they don't like what they see.
Trump called the ongoing, years-long transition to a satellite-based ATC technology called Next Generation Air Transportation System "a total waste of money".
"We will be speeding up the implementation of NextGen air traffic control, going from a land-based radar system to a much more accurate and precise GPS-based system".
During the White House event, Shuster and others emphasized the antiquated system used for controlling air traffic. On Thursday, Trump will host local government officials, including Bucks County Commissioner Rob Loughery, at the White House to talk about infrastructure needs.
The idea is to remove air traffic control from the vagaries of the government budget process, which has limited the Federal Aviation Administration's ability to commit to long-term contracts and raise money for major expenditures. Find us on Facebook too! A Trump administration plan to turn air traffic operations over to a private, nonprofit is aimed at speeding upgrades to the system.
Many people deem the air traffic control system as one of the safest in the world, but criticism is emerging over efficiency and technology.
"While the FAA operated the system every day in 2016 without any widespread glitches, it was the airlines that failed to manage their own IT systems, with large-scale disruptions on at least 15 occasions", Reps. "But after billions and billions of tax dollars spent, and the many years of delays, we're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, awful system that doesn't work", Trump told an audience assembled in the East Room of the White House.
At the time Lancaster's air traffic control was privatized, officials said it would save about $250,000 a year.
After his remarks, Trump signed a memo and a letter to lawmakers outlining his principles for the air traffic control plan.
Winning congressional approval would still be an uphill battle for Trump.
But according to the president, "We live in a modern age, yet our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past".
Rinaldi also said the union opposes a for-profit system.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also lashed out at the plan, insisting in a statement that the president "was recycling "a exhausted Republican plan that both sides of the aisle have rejected" and would hand control of one of our nation's most important public assets to special interests and the big airlines'".
The plan drew immediate support from most airlines, but faces stiff opposition from private aviation groups and in Congress. Notably, the proposal would change the construct of the 13-member Board overseeing the new ATC entity to include an airport representative selected by AAAE and ACI-NA.
"I have been and will remain deeply involved in any and all discussions on the impact of aviation proposals on the FAA Tech Center and the men and women, who work there", LoBiondo said.