Akron Canton CEO Urges Caution in Privatizing Air-Traffic Control

Proponents of the idea claim that privatization will ensure steady funding through user fees, as opposed to air traffic control relying on yearly appropriations from Congress. Advocates also say that privatization would bring modernization, including a move to Global Positioning System technology for precise tracking instead of the ground-based radar still in use today.

US President Donald Trump on Monday proposed to Congress a law to privatise the US air traffic control system with an eye toward modernising it and making it more efficient.

Currently, air traffic control is handled by the FAA's more than 13,000 licensed controllers, who are located across the United States at regional control centers. When Rep. Bill Shuster (R, Pa.) put forth a plan to accomplish this in 2016, it stalled on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In addition to fears that the system would drive up the cost of air travel, Democrats argue that the change is both unnecessary and the advanced technologies may be too much for carriers to handle, especially in light of computer glitches experienced by major USA airlines.

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President Trump's plan would spin off air traffic control into a non-profit organization run by a board. To fund it, airlines would "contribute fees" rather than pay taxes. Stripping air traffic control from the federal government will only introduce uncertainty and risk.

"We are prepared to enter a great new era in American aviation", Trump said, in announcing the plan at the White House. "NATCA shares the administration's commitments to infrastructure modernization and providing the National Airspace System (NAS) with a stable, predictable funding stream", Paul Rinaldi, the association's president, said in a statement.

Trump's proposal to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was part of a weeklong White House focus on infrastructure.

The President's plan to privatize air traffic control at our nation's airports is being watched closely in Oklahoma City. In the coming weeks we will ask you to contact your elected official to inform them of your opposition to this plan.

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Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will have an opportunity to sell skeptical lawmakers on Trump's air traffic control vision when she testifies in front of Senate and House panels this week.

In fact, airlines -caused issues from broken planes, late crews, and other glitches accounted for most delays, more than weather and air traffic control combined.

But FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has said the agency has made progress during the past decade in updating its computers and other equipment in order to move from a radar-based to a satellite-based control system. "For the passengers, it's better they'll get from point to point faster, and the system would be safer", he said. "The current system can not keep up, hasn't been able to keep up for many years".

But winning congressional approval could prove hard. Sen.

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Democrats have also pointed to the unprecedented safety under the current system and noted repeated computer system failures in recent years by US airlines, questioning whether they are ready to handle complex technology modernizations.


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