Finance

The pros and cons of privatizing air traffic control

The pros and cons of privatizing air traffic control

An initiative to privatise US' air traffic control operations has been announced by President Donald Trump, with the plan for a non-profit organisation to take the responsibility from the U.S. federal government.

Some airlines, such as Southwest and Alaska Airlines, have long advocated privatization of the air traffic control system.

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.

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.

For a Trump White House beset by investigation into its ties with Russian Federation, which is also struggling to gain traction on other legislative efforts including promised tax reform - which so far exists only as a one-page outline - and the health care overhaul, low-hanging fruit could give them an easy win.

White House officials said the new entity would be overseen by a 13-member board that will include members from the airline industry, unions, general aviation, airports and other stakeholders.

Airlines have been lobbying vigorously for the change, saying the FAA's NextGen program to modernize the air traffic system is taking too long and has produced too few benefits.

On Monday, Trump proposed putting air traffic control in the hands of a private, nonprofit organization that would use modern equipment, like Global Positioning System technology.

BJP presidential nominee: Parliamentary board to meet today to finalize candidate
According to the source, during the meeting Shah appealed to the Sena to support the BJP's nominee for the president's post. Sanjay Raut , Sena MP in Rajya Sabha, said Shah called Thackeray after BJP's decision on Monday.

Southwest chief Gary Kelly sparked that conversation at a White House meeting, bemoaning an aging system that contributes to congestion at major airports.

While the bill never made it to the House floor - several key GOP legislators were opposed to the idea of transferring public infrastructure to a private company - a Republican president could help alleviate some skepticism to the idea within the party. It would create a new user fee on aircraft using the system to replace current taxes on aviation fuel and airline tickets.

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 infrastructure push comes as the White House seeks to refocus attention on core promises to boost jobs and the economy made by Trump a year ago during his campaign for office.

Opponents claim that handing over air traffic control assets, including towers, to a private organization is risky.

But critics say the radar and radio tech it uses to do that is outdated.

In a report last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found no strong evidence that privatization is better than the Federal Aviation Administration's existing air traffic control system.


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