Trump rolls out push to privatize air traffic system

President Donald Trump speaks during the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala at the Ford's Theatre in Washington Sunday

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.

The air traffic controllers' union also is supportive of the proposal.

Trump is largely throwing his support behind Rep. Bill Shuster's (R-PA) air traffic control reform proposal. Even under a congressional privatization plan, the FAA would continue to provide safety oversight of the system, the AP reported.

"On the air traffic control system, the general aviation community, the small rural airports, the major carriers and the air traffic controller themselves all have to feel that they are, and need to be, involved in that discussion", Blunt told reporters Tuesday.

"The FAA has been trying to upgrade our nation's air traffic control system for a long period of years, but after billions and billions of tax dollars spent and many years of delays, we're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, awful system that doesn't work". "For the airlines, it will save them money". In addition to controllers, the FAA employs specialists, engineers, and technicians, numbering in the tens of thousands, who work to maintain the air traffic control technology and the infrastructure necessary to keep air travel safe. But aviation groups say they'll scrutinize a new cost estimate as closely as air traffic controllers watch them.

An evening stranded on an O'Hare airport runway is enough to make anyone mad, and on Monday Donald Trump responded with a plan for improving American air travel.

The president's tough tone - he called the Federal Aviation Administration's existing flight-tracking system "broken, antiquated, horrible" - isn't likely to sway anyone on the fence, said Doug Heye, a consultant who worked in the U.S. House for former Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor.




"That is one of the areas administration would be mirroring other countries and how they operate privatized control towers", said DuRay.

Shuster previous year succeeded in getting the air-traffic measure passed from the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which he chairs.

The plan calls for creating a board with representatives from airlines, unions, trade groups and the federal government. It also enables air traffic corporations to issue long-term revenue bonds to pay for modernization projects, which is why countries like Canada and the United Kingdom are far ahead of the US.

"Presidential leadership on an issue is incredibly important, especially when you're trying to do something as transformational as we're doing with the FAA", he said. That's a testament to how inefficient the current system is.

Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, disagrees.

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.

House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that Trump was recycling "a exhausted Republican plan that both sides of the aisle have rejected" and would "hand control of one of our nation's most important public assets to special interests and the big airlines".

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