President Trump: private air traffic control

Alicia Cross
June 11, 2017

President Trump to embrace privatization of air traffic control system " At a time when every passenger has GPS technology in their pockets, our air traffic control system still runs on radar and ground-based radio systems", explained Trump.

The Federal Aviation Administration spends close to $10 billion per year on air-traffic control, Reuters reported.

President Trump's push to move the Federal Aviation Administration's 14,000 air traffic controllers to a private entity at "no cost" has left aviation groups with more questions than answers.

Steinberg admits that while the current ATC system is older and not always flawless, it keeps air travelers safe through some of the world's most complex air corridors in the U.S.

This concept has the bipartisan support of numerous former leaders of the FAA and Department of Transportation, as well as most major airlines, the air traffic controllers' union, and business groups.

A vintage illustration of an air traffic controller.

The agency is funded largely in part by aviation user fees, such as taxes imposed on airline tickets, jet fuel, and air travel miles.

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Some aviation insiders say airlines could also pay the user fees and pass that onto consumers.

Some in the Republican Party question the legality a private entity charging "taxes" on airline passengers.

The White House also said that liberalising the air traffic control system would allow the country to move forward with technologies such as uncrewed aircraft. "You look at private ATC in other countries, and it has had a tremendously negative impact on general aviation". On Monday, it did not reject the Trump proposal, but said it wanted to review specifics.

"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.

Critics also fear government bureaucracy. "However, the USA has a very safe air traffic system today and we don't hear complaints from our almost 350,000 members about it", said Baker.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California pointed to past opposition from both parties to privatization plans, saying it would "hand control of one of our nation's most important public assets to special interests and the big airlines".

USA 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". Sound off in the comments section below and share your thoughts.

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