Trump to embrace privatization of air traffic control system


The National Air Traffic Control Association, which wasn't at the White House event, has said the current system is unacceptable and previously supported a federally chartered, nonprofit model.

"Dismantling the current system will devastate [general aviation] while not accomplishing the desired goals of efficiency and technological improvements", the EAA said in a press release.

President Donald Trump signed a letter on Monday announcing he will move to privatize the USA air traffic control system to kick off what the Trump administration has dubbed "infrastructure week".

"The current system can not keep up, hasn't been able to keep up for many years".

Congressman Ron Estes of Kansas wants to protect the needs of general aviation when it comes to President Trump's plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system.

The FAA recently stated that air traffic control modernization is on track and will be completed by 2020.

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.

The privatization idea isn't new: The airline industry has been pushing for it since the 1980s, and the Clinton administration proposed a similar privatization scheme to Trump's in 1994. 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.

The Federal Aviation Administration spends almost $10 billion a year on air traffic control funded largely through passenger user fees, and has about 28,000 air traffic control personnel.

The president says the reforms would modernize the system and make it safer and more reliable.

There are also concerns about whether the air traffic system would suffer during the transition. Trump's plan will eliminate tax dollars in favor of user fees.

Though Trump outlined only broad strokes of his proposal, his speech threw presidential support behind a plan that in recent years gained traction amid a broad push by the airline industry and support from several high-profile lawmakers. After privatizing, Canada reduced its number of air traffic employees from 6,200 to 4,700, Katko said, while handling 30 percent more traffic in a denser area.

The FAA spends almost $10 billion a year on air traffic control, funded largely through passenger user fees, and has about 28,000 air traffic control personnel.

But Congressman Frank LoBiondo said he looked forward to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao's testimony on the proposal and "impact on our skies, safety and South Jersey".

The move is part of a weeklong focus on proposals to improve the country's infrastructure, Efe reported.

If the plan does gain approval from Congress, it is projected that it would take about three years for the United States to get in line with practices of other major leading countries around the world.



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