President Trump Pushes Plan to Privatize Air Traffic Control

Robyn Valdez
June 8, 2017

"Modernizing the air traffic control system is another great idea, but when it comes to the details, we want to make sure all of the stakeholders are included", Everett said.

President Donald Trump outlined a plan on Monday to privatize the USA air traffic control system to modernize it and lower flying costs, but his proposal drew immediate criticism from Democrats who said it would hand control of a key asset to special interests and big airlines.

2,700 new hire and certified air traffic controllers are training at OKC's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center each year.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said the U.S. has an antiquated system that is based partly on 1950s technology.

Critics of the current system say the FAA obliges political interests instead of the passengers they are supposed to serve because funds usage is determined by Congress.

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The proposal outlined criteria that the new entity must meet to oversee USA air traffic control, including safety, national security, AND cybersecurity.

But according to the president, "We live in a modern age, yet our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past".

Opponents claim that handing over air traffic control assets, including towers, to a private organization is risky.

In the light of day, the plan appears to be a play by the airlines to control the air traffic control system in this country, with the potential to diminish resources available for general aviation.

"I first spoke to President Trump back in 2014 about the need for reform, and I'm glad to be working on it with him in 2017", Shuster said.

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In the speech, Trump called for the removal of air traffic control operations from the FAA and placing it under a nonprofit entity to be funded by user fees. Trump says a major source of frustration and ultimately cost is America's out of date Air Traffic Control System that manages nearly a billion flights per year. It also enables air traffic corporations to issue long-term revenue bonds to pay for modernization projects, which is why countries like Canada and the United Kingdom are far ahead of the US.

But winning congressional approval could still be an uphill battle for Trump. Sen. That's a testament to how inefficient the current system is.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will have an opportunity to sell skeptical lawmakers on Trump's air traffic control vision when she testifies in front of Senate and House panels this week.

Democrats have also pointed to the unprecedented safety under the current system and noted repeated computer system failures in recent years by US airlines, questioning whether they are ready to handle complex technology modernizations.

"Privatizing the largest and most complex aviation system in the world is a risky and unnecessary step at this pivotal point in its modernization", said Mike Perrone, national president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), in a statement released Monday.

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Many big commercial airlines support privatization, and Trump's proposal even lets airlines help shape the new air traffic control organization's board of directors.

Other reports by Info About Network

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