White House details plan to privatize air traffic control

20 June, 2017, 11:22 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • President Donald Trump speaks during the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala at the Ford's Theatre in Washington Sunday

President Donald Trump outlined a plan on Monday to privatize the USA air traffic control system to modernize outdated systems and lower the cost of flying, but the proposal faced immediate criticism from Democrats.

President Donald Trump wants to give the USA airline industry an upgrade by privatizing the nation's air traffic control system. This time, he wants to hand over one of the largest and safest air traffic control systems in the world to the private sector.

Trump added that the current USA air traffic control system is not prepared to deal with innovation and is plagued by "unacceptable delays", which cost "billions" of dollars each year and constitute an economic burden to the nation.

Under the current system, air traffic control is operated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the civil aviation arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The plan has drawn appraises from former transportation secretaries, who lauded the move as the "right solution for the 21st century".

It's a full week of infrastructure overhaul at the White House, and for the Trump administration - the sky is the limit.

However, opponents caution that the proposal, which would require congressional approval, will give too much power to the aviation industries.

The plan calls for creating a board with representatives from airlines, unions, trade groups and the federal government.

The FAA oversees more than 50,000 flights in the US per day. Democrats have largely opposed the changes, warning that the proposed board overseeing the estimated 300 air traffic facilities and around 30,000 employees would be dominated by airline interests.

Most airlines have supported this idea.

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 is generally supportive of the proposal, as it sees the current FAA air traffic control system as somewhat inefficient. There has not been a fatal crash of a domestic passenger airliner in the U.S.in eight years. She also said that the airline expected to be able to cooperate with the Trump administration "to make air travel cleaner, safer and more efficient". What's different now, Gribbin said, is Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

Much of Trump's plan seems to be taken from Rep. Schuster's AIRR Act, introduced previous year as an update of the FAA Reauthorization Act.

Modernizing and or privatizing the air traffic control system is something The Heritage Foundation has long supported.

The National Academy of Sciences reported in 2015 that the original vision for NextGen of transforming the air traffic system has devolved into a series of incremental changes that primarily emphasize replacing aging equipment and systems.

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