Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Business | By Jorge Reeves

US President Donald Trump Proposes Privatized ATC Reform

US President Donald Trump Proposes Privatized ATC Reform

The White House said that the new structure, which would be financed by tariffs on air tickets, would enable the transition to the use of Global Positioning System technology - instead of radar - to coordinate the country's air traffic control, a move that it said would create more direct routes.

"I remain entirely opposed to privatizing air traffic control", Moran said Monday in an interview just hours after Trump unveiled one of the signature elements of his plan to revamp USA infrastructure.

For air-traffic controlling purposes, the FAA divides the skies into three altitude levels; air traffic controllers based in New Hampshire have a hand in all three, according to a 2015 FAA tally on air traffic controller staffing. 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.

Airlines contend the FAA's NextGen program to modernize the air traffic system is taking too long and has produced too few benefits.

FAA air traffic controllers manage more than 50,000 flights per day.

President Trump was focused on an issue that would improve America, by privatising the Air Traffic Control system in an effort to update it and make it more efficient, reducing the frustrating wait times, often experienced. "For the airlines, it will save them money".

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A vintage illustration of an air traffic controller.

US airlines have lobbied since the 1980s to privatize the air traffic system to gain more control, reduce their costs and replace passenger ticket taxes with user fees based on takeoffs, landings and other operations.

President Trump has been tweeting about the London attacks, his travel ban, and Democrats getting in the way of his appointments while the White House is focusing this week on his plan for infrastructure. Funding for the new organization will come exclusively from user fees, and the use of those funds will be managed by, among others, airline representatives, unions, and general aviation and airports.

"In this environment, bureaucratic efforts are unlikely to succeed", Trump said in a letter to Congress, adding that "a new not-for-profit air traffic control entity that will leverage private capital" is needed.

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.

"Today we're preposing to take American air travel into the future, finally, finally", said Trump.

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But winning congressional approval could prove hard. Sen.

The administration intends to move the spinoff plan separately from a $1 trillion infrastructure package but said it's up to Congress how they want to tackle both initiatives.

Chao then introduced Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Bill Shuster.

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.

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