Pres. Trump Proposes Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Pres. Trump Proposes Privatizing Air Traffic Control

"I share President Trump's desire to make travel in America's airspace safer, more efficient and technologically advanced", Estes says.

"Air traffic control is now using outdated technology", said DJ Gribbin, special assistant to the president for infrastructure, in an off-camera briefing with reporters. It is part of a larger plan, the White House says, to stimulate infrastructure across the country. The House's top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said in a news release, "Selling off our air traffic control system threatens passenger safety, undermines the FAA's ongoing modernization, jeopardizes access to rural airports and adds to the deficit". "Many controllers must use slips of paper to track our thousands and thousands of flights".

The announcement does not come as a surprise, as Trump met with airline CEOs in February. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office said that major elements of NextGen should be in place by 2025, but that the system wouldn't be fully implemented until 2030.

In a major infrastructure revitalization push, President Donald Trump will kickoff the series of events, nicknamed infrastructure week, with a statement regarding privatizing air traffic control.

Though Trump didn't commit to any specific proposals, he appeared intrigued by what Kelly described as the "single biggest opportunity for aviation". Instead of taxes, the outfit would be funded by user fees, which is how Canada has financed air-traffic services since 1996.

Flanked by the current and former secretaries of transportation, Trump stated that the ATC system was designed when far fewer people flew and called it "stuck painfully in the past".

President Trump announced plans Monday to privatize the nation's air traffic control system, arguing that it is the best way to modernize the system. Trump administration officials have cited Shuster's bill as a starting point for their efforts.

The Trump administration wants to turn over control of the nation's skies to private business. The new entity should honor existing labor agreements but controllers would no longer be federal employees.

Trump's air-traffic control proposal will be based largely on legislation introduced in 2016 by Representative Bill Shuster, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, according to a White House official. "Then those members, along with the board's CEO, would select four independent members".

Privatization represents a bold attempt by the aviation industry to carve out operations and procurement activities along with most or all of AATF funding, while dumping responsibility for remaining FAA functions onto taxpayers. The FAA would continue to monitor safety and write air-traffic regulations under the plan. And deep divisions remain about the idea to privatize air traffic control, even with Trump's backing. After all, it's one less thing for the government to control.

Privatization supporters complain that the FAA's procurement process is so cumbersome that new equipment is no longer the latest technology by the time it's acquired.