Trump Signals Support For the Privatization of Air Traffic Control

On Monday, June 5, President Donald J. Trump gave his endorsement to a new proposal. The proposal would be to privatize the air traffic control system in the US. During an event that took place in the East Room of the White House, President Trump signed both a memo and a letter. Both documents will go to Congress. It will outline a new variation on a proposal that has essentially been around for decades.

Mr. Trump indicates that he was taking bold moves to advance the massive infrastructure. A promise he made during his campaign months leading up to the 2016 Presidential election.

The New Plan

Under the new plan, air traffic control would totally detach from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This may occur in the next three years. Airplanes tracking, moving forward, will be with a series of sophisticated global positioning satellites. Something that Mr. Trump said would “dramatically improve”. Improve upon the current method of using radar and radio signals to accomplish the same goals. In theory, this would result in not only fewer delays at airports coast to coast; but also a safer and more efficient system in general. Savings generating from these lower operating costs would then theoretically be pass on to consumers. Customers, he implies will get to purchase cheaper tickets to fly. Though whether that actually happens is still up in the air.

Mr. Trump was very proud of the fact that the new proposal requires no taxpayer money whatsoever. Democrats and other opponents said that the new system would actually lead to increase costs for travelers. In addition, private businesses would save a significant amount of money and keep all of the profits for themselves. Opponents also argued that the new system would leave already underserved areas without mission-critical improvements. Improvements that will affect them way into the next decade and beyond.

Does Privatizing Air Traffic Control Good Or Bad?

Many of the principles in this plan were introduced as legislation in 2016 by Representative BillShuster of Pennsylvania. Mr. Shuster also serves as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In fact, a large number of the core ideas have actually been hotly debated for several decades.

Supporters of the plan say that privatizing air traffic control would not only go a long way towards improving or replacing inefficient airports, but the increase competition would spawn innovation across the board. Those on the opposing side of the argument say that something as essential as air traffic control – and by association the safety of the millions of people who use planes to travel the country each year – should never be on the foundation of a privatize model. Further debate on this will be in the coming months.

It’s important to note that even Mr. Trump’s advisors admit that any action regarding this plan is still months away. This, despite the fact that Trump himself said in April that such a plan would be ready to institute by May at the latest.