Heritage praises Trump's plans for air traffic control

Trade group Airlines for America and most USA airlines have supported ATC privatisation, and Trump says his plan enjoys support from airlines, passenger advocates and air traffic controllers.

American Airlines Group Inc., the world's largest carrier, said it looked forward to working with the Trump administration "to make air travel cleaner, safer and more efficient".

While the call for all new systems and a complete overhaul of the Air Traffic Control infrastructure may come as good news for some, the impact on efforts by the FAA and the drone industry to fully integrate drones into the system within the next few years is hard to judge.

Opponents, including Delta Air Lines, say the USA system is so large that privatization would not save money, and would drive up ticket costs and could create a national security risk.

A similar FAA proposal two years ago died on the House floor, but Shuster said he believes Trump's election proves taxpayers want outside-the-box thinking, and Democrats would see value in a broader infrastructure package that might link some of the cities they represent. Governed by a board of directors, the organization will include airline representatives, government officials and aviation groups.

"The antiquated system we rely on today is inefficient and causes thousands of avoidable flight delays", Shannon Gilson, a spokeswoman for American, said in an emailed statement.

Trump's plan to privatize air traffic control operations will likely be included in legislation reauthorizing the FAA.

Trump made a decision to roll with Kelly's idea of a non-proft group to handle the policy. This is also what bothers private pilots and smaller airlines and airports, as they feel that they won't have enough representation on the non-profit corporation's proposed board.

The FAA would maintain safety oversight of the system, but 30,000 of its employees would be off the federal payroll while reportedly retaining their retirements. Democrats, on the other hand, believe that the public would best be served by funneling more money into the existing structure in a concentrated to modernize the system. On Monday, it did not reject the Trump proposal, but said it wanted to review specifics. "You can not assign safety to a private organization".

That effort picked up steam previous year when the union that represents air traffic controllers agreed to support a proposal by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., to spin off air traffic operations into a private, nonprofit corporation.

While both sides of the privatization debate may laud the system's clean record, critics point out its "WWII-era radar technology" and process of physically passing paper strips with an individual's aircraft information and flight plan from controller to controller.

  • Larry Hoffman