Rebecca Pepin WCYB
Fees will fly? Looking at savings and costs of privatizing air traffic control
June 12, 2017
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  • Airline travel could soon be seeing a change in this country. That’s because President Trump has proposed privatizing air traffic control, which is currently run by the Federal Aviation Administration.

    News 5’s Rebecca Pepin spoke with numerous sources about the issue, and right now there’s not a lot of information out there about how this will affect travelers and others.

    Supporters of privatizing air traffic control say it will save money and travel time, and modernize an outdated system. For example, the goal is to upgrade from land-based radar to a GPS system that’s supposed to be safer and more efficient.

    Those against the move are concerned it will mean more fees for travelers and general aviation. General aviation refers to all private plane and corporate business jet flights.

    News 5 talked to former air traffic controller, Greg Godsey, who is now a corporate pilot. He says he has some concerns about the fees and what they could mean for the economy of smaller markets, like the Tri-Cities.

    “The fees and the increased cost to operate a general aviation aircraft will cause them to use the aircraft less and a lot of your smaller markets and smaller cities will suffer because there won’t be the need and the occasion to fly into their airports by major business people,” said Godsey.

    Here are some statements issued Friday concerning the possible privatization of air traffic control.

    Delta Airlines, Inc:

    “Delta looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress on our shared goal of modernizing U.S. airspace. We remain committed to working together to identify ways to reduce delays, improve efficiency, and enhance airline performance while maximizing safety and minimizing costs.”

    FAA administrator’s statement on reforming air traffic control:

    “While the FAA has made progress to upgrade our nation’s air traffic control system, despite certain constraints, I support looking at new ways to help us provide stable and sufficient funding to more rapidly modernize our system, while maintaining the highest level of safety.  The proposal to create a separate, non-government air traffic control service provider is a step in a process that needs to involve all users of the airspace system and deliver benefits to the system as a whole.”

    U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander:

    “I am encouraged by President Trump’s proposal – efforts to modernize our outdated air traffic control system are good news for the nearly 2 million people who fly every day. My experience in Tennessee has been that fairly apportioned user fees and avoiding new debt are the right way to pay for infrastructure.”

    Rep. Phil Roe, M.D.:

    “I am pleased that President Trump put forward a plan to modernize air traffic control that prioritizes safety and improves efficiency. As Congress reviews the president’s proposal, ensuring the flying public remains safe is my top priority.”