Culture

Trump promises 'cheaper, faster and safer travel' with private air traffic control

As part of his as yet vague plan to invest in and improve American infrastructure, President Donald Trump has announced that he wants to privatize air traffic control, giving it over to a private, non-profit corporation. What would that mean for air travel? "You don't actually need to be there". The move is likely to be welcomed by US airlines, the air traffic control union, and many congressional Republicans, who have all criticized the FAA for its bureaucratic inefficiencies, slow pace of planned upgrades, and reliance on unpredictable government funding. Many expect the reforms to dramatically advance new technologies that will cut down on travel disruptions and enhance safety by allowing for greater precision when controllers are directing flights.

A separate, non-profit entity would run the air traffic control system that would also switch from taxing passengers to instead imposing a user fee system, saving passengers time and money, according to the White House. Once collected, the funds are deposited into a trust fund. Congress then authorizes the use of the funds during an annual appropriations process.

The FAA oversees more than 50,000 flights in the USA per day.

While the specifics of the plan haven't been announced, the FAA now employs about 30,000 air traffic controllers.

Some congressional critics of privatization lay the blame for air traffic snags on the airlines rather than the FAA.

Gary Cohn, Trump's economic adviser who helped design the infrastructure plan, told the New York Times that taxpayers would incur no cost for the planned updates to the air traffic control system. The safest airline system in the world. Private pilots, business aircraft operators, and non-hub airports have voiced their concerns, saying they may end up paying more under a private corporation but fear they would receive fewer services. "You can not assign safety to a private organization". That proposal failed to gain traction in Congress, similar to previous attempts to privatize air traffic controllers.

Joined by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Vice President Pence, a group of former transportation secretaries, and a host of airline executives, the president said the new system would help the USA catch up with the technological advances of other countries like Canada. The FAA's modernization program known as NextGen is expected to crash through its 2025 deadline by as much as a decade.

Congressman Ron Estes of Kansas wants to protect the needs of general aviation when it comes to President Trump's plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system.

Trump was joined by airline industry executives, union members and former transportation secretaries Elizabeth Dole and Mary Peters in an East Room address to make the case for a more modern air traffic control system. Sound off in the comments section below and share your thoughts.



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