Bad Move to Privatize Air Traffic Control
July 22, 2017
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  • Bill Crane’s July 16 editorial supported Trump’s effort to privatize air traffic control (ATC). The private sector operating ATC instead of bureaucratic government seems good. I’m normally for that philosophy, but not in this application.

    I serve on the Board of the National Air Transportation Association and have 30 years in the aviation industry. Putting public airways in the control of a private corporation is like giving our roads to a private company, charging the public whatever it deems appropriate to use them. Mr. Crane fails to understand that the airline industry will have board control of this company, deciding what routes get priority and the pricing to use them. General aviation (GA) and rural communities (ours) will be underserved and have high and uncontrolled user fees (tolls).

    New fees will be added to the present taxes GA already pays for ATC. This killed GA in other parts of the world. Crane’s assessment that ATC lags technically is inaccurate. The FAA has used GPS for 20 years, fusing it with radar, ADS-B and multilateration technologies. Next generation ATC technologies are mostly already in. Flight delays are not the result of ATC technology, but of real infrastructure needs at airports regarding runway and gate shortages.

    The U.S. has the most sophisticated, congested, yet safest ATC system in the world. 120 aviation user groups are opposed to privatizing ATC — even Delta, who left their trade association over it. This is an airlines move to control routes and GA. Don’t fix what’s not broken.

    Larry Wade

    St. Simons Island