President Trump Pushes Plan to Privatize Air Traffic Control

11 June 2017, 09:04 | Andres Norman

President Donald Trump is calling on Congress to turn the nation's air traffic control system over to a private, non-profit organization in an effort to modernize air travel and lower costs.

According to The Washington Post, President Donald Trump has proposed shaking things up by transferring the responsibility of air traffic control from the FAA to a private, nonprofit organization.

"The White House principles make a gross misrepresentation that the air traffic control system is broken, but the facts don't support the claim", said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO/Chairman. "NATCA shares the administration's commitments to infrastructure modernization and providing the National Airspace System (NAS) with a stable, predictable funding stream", Paul Rinaldi, the association's president, said in a statement.

The U.S. air traffic control system is in line for a major overhaul. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said, "Government bureaucracy has held back innovation in American aviation". Passengers sitting inside the planes have better Global Positioning System navigation right in their pockets, he said.

Nationwide, there are about 50,000 airline and other aircraft flights a day.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that officials had spoken with air industry representatives and they feel that it is necessary for Congress - currently controlled by the Republicans - to move now to push the proposal through.

Congress must pass a bill reauthorizing the FAA by September 30. Ted Cruz and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, airline industry executives, union members and others to the event in the East Room. Despite all of Monday's pomp and circumstance, he basically just signed a letter to Congress outlining his ideas.

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Steinberg says one study by Delta - the only major airline to oppose the plan - shows user fees could boost airfares 20 to 29 percent.

"There is no consensus on this short-sighted privatization proposal", DeFazio, of OR, said.

Airlines in the US have campaigned to separate the FAA. and ATC for two decades, but the proposal still has to pass muster with Democrats.

The air traffic controllers' union also is supportive of the proposal. As reported by Bloomberg, groups representing private plane manufacturers have expressed concern smaller airports may be overlooked and see a fall in service.

The FAA has been trying to get up to speed with its Next Generation Air Transport System, or NextGen, but analysts say it's fallen short of expectations.

US airlines have lobbied to separate air traffic control from the FAA for two decades and Trump's budget plan released earlier this year called for the changes, placing air traffic operations under an "independent, non-governmental organization".



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