Plans To Privatize Air Traffic Control System In Works

The White House on Monday said the plan would modernise the U.S. system, reducing costs and delays.

"Dismantling the current system will devastate [general aviation] while not accomplishing the desired goals of efficiency and technological improvements", the EAA said in a press release.

President Trump's push to move the Federal Aviation Administration's 14,000 air traffic controllers to a private entity at "no cost" has left aviation groups with more questions than answers. FAA's NextGen program to introduce digital communications and GPS systems to replace decades old technology in one of the world's most complex airspaces has been slow; too slow for many in Washington, D.C.

Administration officials emphasized that the privatized air traffic control system would be managed by a self-financing, non-profit entity, with user fees providing the funding.

Republicans haven't just hampered any progress on air traffic control, they've played a game of chicken with the safety of air travel, putting the flying public on the line.

"While AOPA is open to proposals aimed at making the air traffic control system more efficient and delivering technology in a timely and cost-effective manner, we have consistently said we will not support policies that impose user fees on general aviation", Baker said.

"We look forward to reviewing the specifics of the air traffic control (ATC) reform legislation so we can evaluate whether it satisfies our Union's principles, including protecting the rights and benefits of the ATC workforce", president Paul Rinaldi said in a statement.

The FAA had been working to upgrade the system for years, Trump said.

"We are prepared to enter a great new era in American aviation", Trump said, in announcing the plan at the White House.

Under the plan, 38,000 FAA staffers, including 14,000 air traffic controllers, would be transferred to a nonprofit corporation run by a 13-member board drawn predominantly from the airline industry.

Commercial airlines are supporting the privatization plan, and opponents are concerned the new system would be dominated by airline interests.

The president says the reforms would modernize the system and make it safer and more reliable.

Air traffic control unions and the government have a fraught history. "Our plan will get you where you need to go more quickly, more effectively and ... on time".

The idea to privatize air traffic control is not new, according to sources in the aviation industry.

The organisation, which supported a similar proposal previous year, said it believes more reliable funding streams are critical, but wants to see "specifics".

About 50,000 flights take off and land in the United States every day.

Monday's announcement is part of a week-long series of proposals to overhaul the country's aging infrastructure as the White House confronts a growing probe into alleged ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation.

  • Leroy Wright