Time to Get US Air Traffic Control Out of the 1960s

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 USA federal government.

"The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) released a statement saying it wants to see a "stable, predictable funding stream" for the National Airspace System".

As reported by NPR, the United States air traffic controllers union sees the initiative as generally positive, and may prompt a change for a system it sees as inefficient, while calling for more specific details.

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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.

The push to privatize the system comes as the airline industry and regulators have managed an extensive period of safety in the skies. This would slow down enhancements and possibly compromise safety to fix a system that's not broken. It also says privatizing air traffic control amounts to "handing the airlines (for free) control over a core public asset, and providing them almost unbridled power to extract new fees and increased taxes from passengers". "We look forward to reviewing the specifics of legislation". Shuster's bill, which passed a House committee previous year but didn't make it to the House floor, would convert the air traffic system from today's taxpayer-funded organization run by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) into a self-funded, nonprofit corporation where all aviation stakeholders - passengers, airlines, airports, controllers, and pilots - would be represented on a board of directors.

"Our air traffic control system is stuck, painfully, in the past", Trump said. Others, such as Delta, are less enthusiastic and say such a move could increase travel costs by 20 percent or more. 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. That's a testament to how inefficient the current system is. Both sides of the privatization debate say the system is one of the most complex and safest in the world.

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"There is no consensus on this short-sighted privatization proposal", DeFazio, of OR, said.

Congress must pass a bill reauthorizing the FAA by September 30.

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.

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Privatization of air traffic control is an idea long supported by most of the commercial airlines. "It's time to bring our aviation system into the 21st century".

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