FAA Reacts To President Trump’s Air Traffic Control Proposal

On Monday, President Donald Trump announced plans to overhaul the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by privatizing air traffic control.

He is scheduled to give remarks on the plan he’ll send to Congress at 11:30 a.m.in the East Room of the White House.

Trump chose to make the case to privatize the system at the start of a week focused on repairing the nation’s infrastructure of roads, bridges and airports. But as usual, cost could be the determining factor in the end; the proposal is wrapped up in President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure investment plan. Pilot and ABC News aviation consultant, John Nance, says Global Positioning System is not the silver bullet solution to tracking airplanes that the president suggests. Thune has previously suggested that there is not enough support on his committee to move an FAA reauthorization bill in the coming weeks that includes air traffic reform.

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 US catch up with the technological advances of other countries like Canada.

The air traffic controllers’ union is generally supportive of the proposal, as it sees the current FAA air traffic control system as somewhat inefficient. The FAA would continue to provide safety oversight of the system under a congressional privatization plan.

“That air traffic can be managed from Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, for instance, because of the technology with cameras, sensors and things like that”, he said. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said, “Government bureaucracy has held back innovation in American aviation”.

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.

These comments were surprising given the fact that the American system handles orders of magnitude more traffic than any other in the world at efficiency and safety levels and costs per operation that are second to none. So far, Trump has only sent a plan to Congress, so the debate between the two sides will begin soon.

Opponents, including Delta Air Lines, say the system is so large that privatization would not save money, would drive up ticket costs and could create a national security risk.

Government taxes would taper off as user fees increase to fund the new corporation, Shuster said.

In what he called an “air travel revolution”, Trump promised the “really monumental reform” would deliver “cheaper, faster, and safer travel” as well as an economic boost that could be worth $25 billion to the economy. But critics say the radar and radio tech it uses to do that is outdated.

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