Kansas’ Congressional Leaders React To Trump’s Plan to Privatize Air Traffic Controllers
June 18, 2017
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  • US President Donald Trump signs principles of proposed reforms to the air traffic control system during an event at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. June 5, 2017. Trump says the current system isn’t working.

    “After billions and billions of tax dollars spent and the many years of delay, we’re still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, awful system that doesn’t work”, Trump said during an announcement in the White House’s East Room.

    “But after billions and billions of tax dollars spent and the many years of delays, we’re still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, disgusting system that doesn’t work”. 

    “Unfortunately, the recent discussion about privatisation is really about the airlines’ push to gain more control over our air traffic control system, so that they can run it for their own benefit, and is a sideshow to a serious and constructive discussion about building on the progress now underway on NextGen”, Bolen said. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office said that major elements of NextGen should be in place by 2025, but that the system wouldn’t be fully implemented until 2030.

    Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that officials had spoken with air industry representatives and they feel that it is necessary for Congress – currently controlled by the Republicans – to move now to push the proposal through. Find us on Facebook too! Detractors have argued that it gives too much power to airlines and could result in higher fares. The group praised the Trump plan, which most airlines back.

    The FAA spends almost $10 billion a year on air traffic control, funded largely through passenger user fees, and has about 28,000 air traffic control personnel.

    Privatization advocates, including the CEOs of most major US airlines, argue that spinning off the system into a nongovernmental entity would improve efficiency and speed the rollout of new technologies. He referenced the “outdated” system while touting new reforms that would make it safer and more reliable. “Canada, as an example, modernized their air traffic control through a non-government organization about 20 years ago, and they have cut costs significantly, adopted cutting-edge technology, and handled 50 percent more traffic – and actually, far more than that on a relative basis compared to us”. And he agrees with the president in that fees will be more efficient than the patchwork of taxes that now support the aviation system.

    The administration is seeking congressional approval for the increased spending. Democrats have largely opposed the changes, warning that airline interests would dominate the proposed board, overseeing an estimated 300 air traffic facilities and around 30,000 employees.

    “This new entity will not need taxpayer money, which is very shocking when people hear that”, President Trump said in a Monday news conference. Key members of tax-writing committees have questioned whether corporations can legally impose fees, which can be viewed as taxes, on air traffic system users.