Privatizing Air-Traffic Control System Could Be A Challenge

Published: Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 3:37pm
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Earlier this week, President Trump announced a plan to privatize the nation’s air-traffic control system, separating it from the Federal Aviation Administration. It’s an idea that’s been floated on both sides of the aisle since the 1990s, but it’s never come to fruition.

The president said recently that it’s “an ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system” that badly needs modernization.

Commercial airlines have long supported privatization, and the air-traffic controller’s union is generally supportive of the proposal.

But the effort comes as the airline industry is safer than ever. There hasn’t been a fatal crash of a domestic airliner in the U.S. in eight years, according to the Washington Post.

And getting a privatization plan approved by Congress could prove to be a challenge. Democrats in Washington have expressed opposition to the plan, and so have business aircraft operators, private pilots and some flyer’s rights groups.

For more on this, I spoke with Paul Lewis, vice president of Policy and Finance with the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonprofit think tank.

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