Trump seeks to privatize US air traffic control system

Marco Green
June 19, 2017

President Donald Trump is likely to announce a proposal to privatize the nation's air traffic control (ATC) system Monday, kicking off what the White House is calling "Infrastructure Week".

Perrone adds that "it is unfathomable to consider gambling with the future and safety of our air traffic control system by putting it into the hands of an organization that diminishes the voice of the American citizens who will be most affected by it".

While other countries now have aviation systems that feature the most modern technology, America's air traffic controllers still have to manage airplanes with paper strips and WWII era technology.

White House officials said the new entity would be overseen by a 13-member board that will include members from the airline industry, unions, general aviation, airports and other stakeholders. "We're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, frightful system that doesn't work".

Joined by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Vice President Pence, a group of former transportation secretaries, and a host of airline executives, the president said the new system would help the USA catch up with the technological advances of other countries like Canada.

Monday's announcement is part of a week-long series of proposals to overhaul the country's aging infrastructure as the White House confronts a growing probe into alleged ties between Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. 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.

Privatization has long had strong support among the nation's airlines, and Republicans have advocated for it for years.

Also this week, Trump plans to invite a bipartisan group of mayors and governors to the White House to talk about transportation - both roads and railways.

Some aviation insiders say airlines could also pay the user fees and pass that onto consumers. "In fact, nations that have privatized ATC have seen operational costs increase at a much higher rate than has been seen in the US under the FAA". "Americans can look forward to cheaper, faster and safer travel", said President Trump.

Still, several other countries (including Canada) have successfully privatized air traffic control responsibilities in the last few decades, though this would be by far the biggest changeover in size and scope.

Trump said spinning off Federal Aviation Administration control of an "antiquated, horrible" system to a self-financing, government-sanctioned corporation wouldn't require taxpayer funds.

The National Air Traffic Controllers' union has opposed any for-profit model, but in the past supported a federally chartered not-for-profit corporation model.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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