Proposal for Privatization of Air Traffic Control a Bad Idea
August 5, 2017
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  • Your recent guest column (Stable funding needed for air traffic controllers), unfortunately missed a few critical points about a bill in Congress to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.

    Unfortunately, this misguided proposal would put air traffic control in the hands of a board of private interests, dominated by the big airlines, meaning that decisions about everything from taxes and fees to infrastructure investment, and access and routes to smaller communities, would be in the hands of a private board dominated by the biggest commercial airlines, without any oversight or accountability to the public or elected lawmakers.

    In reality, privatizing air traffic control would do nothing to provide long-term funding for air traffic control and the FAA and would actually delay stable funding. For example, even though there is bipartisan support for reauthorizing the FAA, every time Congress is set to consider an FAA reauthorization bill, the airlines push for the poison pill of privatization, and the bill becomes mired down in controversy and years of short-term extensions.

    The truth is that contrary to proponents’ claims, many of the international systems that proponents hold up as examples lack funding stability and consistency in system costs. The Canadian system, Nav Canada, for example, has needed to adjust fees several times since its creation to respond to system costs and changing market conditions.

    This proposal to privatize air traffic control is exactly that – privatization. We need to say no to this risky proposal.

    Joe Frasher,

    Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) director

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