Trump, Rep. Davis seek to privatize U.S. air traffic control system
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 11:22
More than 30,000 federal air traffic controllers and other workers from the Federal Aviation Administration would be spun off into a private nonprofit corporation if a new plan from the White House comes to fruition.
"For too many years, our country has tolerated too many delays at the airport, too many wait times on the tarmac", said President Trump Monday.
The president is proposing a private, non-profit company take-over of air traffic control over the course of the next three years.
Trump's plan would also eliminate taxes on airline passengers in favor of user fees. Data Comm is operational at 55 air traffic control towers around the country, supplementing voice communication between controllers and pilots with digital text-based messages created to make for safer, more efficient operations, as it helps aircraft take off and reach their destinations on time. But as usual, cost could be the determining factor in the end; the proposal is wrapped up in President Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan.
For a Trump White House beset by investigation into its ties with Russian Federation, which is also struggling to gain traction on other legislative efforts including promised tax reform - which so far exists only as a one-page outline - and the health care overhaul, low-hanging fruit could give them an easy win. It also says privatizing air traffic control amounts to "handing the airlines (for free) control over a core public asset, and providing them almost unbridled power to extract new fees and increased taxes from passengers". "The idea that we would take the safest system in the world and the most complicated, and suddenly privatize it, that's insane", he said. The Trump administration also said that the new system would be safer, arguing that separating air traffic control and the FAA would allow for better oversight. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office said that major elements of NextGen should be in place by 2025, but that the system wouldn't be fully implemented until 2030.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) released the following statement after joining President Donald J. Trump and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao for the president's announcement on principles for air traffic control and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reform.
For example, Delta is the only major airline that isn't backing the plan, over concerns that privatizing such a big system could lead to a national security risk in addition to driving up prices for the consumer.
The radar system still in use has its roots in World War II technology, and parts of the communications system still use paper.
The plan is based on legislation previously proposed by Representative Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), who now serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
Meanwhile, more than 40 air traffic controllers work at Newark Liberty and their union, which lost the right to strike back in the 80s, offered cautious support, saying " ...