Shuster Statement on President's Announcement on FAA and Air Traffic Control Reform

President Donald Trump threw his support behind a plan to detach the US air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration and put it under the control of a nonprofit corporation.

Trump is laying out his plans as part of a larger focus on improving the country's infrastructure.

"We know that in many of these areas we're falling behind, and the falling behind is affecting economic growth in the United States, " Cohn said. "This new entity will not need taxpayer money", Trump said. "This is hugely controversial", said Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), He believes there are democrats and republicans on the House Transportation Committee, who are opposed to the plan.

To cut down on those delays, the Federal Aviation Administration has been rolling out new systems to replace outdated radar navigation and radio communication with modern GPS and digital communications.

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. The opponents say the current system works well, and they fear the transition would be a setback to the introduction of new technology.

The proposal says a board made up of airline, union and airport officials would oversee the non-profit entity.

While the specifics of the plan haven't been announced, the FAA now employs about 30,000 air traffic controllers. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said, "Government bureaucracy has held back innovation in American aviation".

Trump's privatization proposal is "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", House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

In addition, Trump may let Congress answer one of the key questions hanging over his $1 trillion infrastructure package: how to pay for it. Most of America's major airlines also support the plan; in a statement to Bloomberg, a spokeswoman for American Airlines said that the current system is "inefficient and causes thousands of avoidable flight delays". Proponents of the idea claim that privatization will ensure steady funding through user fees, as opposed to air traffic control relying on yearly appropriations from Congress. Advocates also say that privatization would bring modernization, including a move to Global Positioning System technology for precise tracking instead of the ground-based radar still in use today. However, the nonprofit advocacy group Flyers' Rights called it an "airline-controlled corporate monopoly" and said it would hand the airlines control over a core public asset and give them "nearly unbridled power to extract new fees and increased taxes from passengers". "Americans can look forward to cheaper, faster and safer travel", said President Trump.

  • Zachary Reyes