Airline passenger group says no to airline control of FAA


"A separate non-profit entity would be charged with ensuring route efficiency, timely service and a long-awaited reduction in delays", Trump said.

The idea of privatizing air-traffic control has been floated since the 1990s - Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at times supported the concept - without success.

He said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which now tracks air traffic is outdated and inefficient.

To no one's shock, Democrats in Congress have come out against privatizing air traffic control. Trump's budget plan released earlier this year called for the changes, placing air traffic operations under an "independent, non-governmental organization".

There are about 50,000 airline and other aircraft flights a day in the United States. The safest airline system in the world.

At a time when the price tag for the country's infrastructure improvements are measured in trillions, a comprehensive investment that includes air traffic control would be a major boon to a Trump administration looking for a legislative victory.

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A similar FAA proposal two years ago died on the House floor, but Shuster said he believes Trump's election proves taxpayers want outside-the-box thinking, and Democrats would see value in a broader infrastructure package that might link some of the cities they represent.

The proposal, created to lower costs and improve efficiency of the system that oversees flights, would transfer about 15,000 controllers and thousands of other managers and technical workers to a new government-sanctioned corporation. The changes would involve moving from the current system based on radar and voice communications to one based on satellite navigation and digital communications.

Privatization advocates argue that spinning off air traffic control into a non-government entity would allow for a more efficient system and rapid, cost-effective improvements of technology, in part by avoiding the government procurement process. NavCanada can raise private capital, make long-term financial commitments, and it recently lowered the fees it charges airlines.

The White House said that the new structure, which would be financed by tariffs on air tickets, would enable the transition to the use of Global Positioning System technology - instead of radar - to coordinate the country's air traffic control, a move that it said would create more direct routes. Opponents worry the new system would be dominated by airline interests.

Paul Hudson, group president and longtime member of the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, stated, "Adopting this scheme would mean handing the airlines (for free) control over a core public asset, and providing them almost unbridled power to extract new fees and increased taxes from passengers".

Airlines in the USA have campaigned to separate the FAA. and ATC for two decades, but the proposal still has to pass muster with Democrats. Key members of tax-writing committees have questioned whether corporations can legally impose fees, which can be viewed as taxes, on air traffic system users. "Our plan will get you where you need to go more quickly, more reliably, more affordably, and yes, on time".