Finance

President plans to privatize air traffic control

President plans to privatize air traffic control

President Trump announced Monday a plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system - a move that would remove the job of tracking and guiding airplanes from the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration. Trump said, "We will launch this air travel revolution by modernizing the outdated system of air traffic control".

Supporters of the plan, which include numerous major U.S. airlines, say the current system slows the introduction of new technology and makes funding subject to the unpredictable whims of Congress.

Rep. Rick Larsen, the ranking Democrat on the House aviation subcommittee, called the proposal to privatize air traffic control "another idea worth killing". "We're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, terrible system that doesn't work".

The plan has drawn appraises from former transportation secretaries, who lauded the move as the "right solution for the 21st century".

Under the administration's new plan, a "self-financing non-profit operation" would take over, Trump said, noting that he hopes there is "one great company that can piece it all together".

Opponents worry that the plan, which would require congressional approval, will give too much power to the airline industries.

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Major airlines and the controller's union say the lack of progress is a result of government shutdowns, controller furloughs and dependence on government funding.

"Anything in terms of impacting the system in terms of cost or safety we should be firmly against", said Mark Baker, President of the 350,000 member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Most Democrats and some powerful Republicans have resisted transferring the service outside of government to big airlines and other aviation interests.

Most of the major airlines support the proposed changes, but Delta Airlines does not.

The president also noted that the old plan was designed at a time when only a 1,000 people flew each year.

President Donald Trump speaks at a Air Traffic Control Reform Initiative announcement in the East Room at the White House, Monday, June 5, 2017, in Washington. She also said that the airline expected to be able to cooperate with the Trump administration "to make air travel cleaner, safer and more efficient". There has not been a fatal crash of a domestic passenger airliner in the U.S.in eight years. They believe a nongovernmental organization would be better suited to handle responsibility of air traffic control because they would have a much easier time cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that the FAA has struggled with in the past. "However, the specifics matter greatly, so it's encouraging to see the president voice his support for privatization when it comes to air traffic control".

Some Republican and Democratic members of Congress have criticized the plan in the past, fearing that USA airlines would prioritize their own interests over those of air traffic facilities and their 30,000 employees nation-wide, the Associated Press reported.


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