President Donald Trump shared with airline and airport executives his thoughts on privatizing America’s air traffic control system during a White House meeting this Thursday, arguing the system is “totally out of whack,” as told by the Washington Post.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly was pleased with the idea to remove air traffic control operations from the FAA and place them under the supervision of a private nonprofit corporation. He complained that billions of dollars spent on the system have not seen any improvements.
Some Republican Congressmen have joined airline executives in proposing the privatization of the air traffic control system, currently overlooked by the Federal Aviation Administration. They claimed that the agency and its “uncertain congressional budget process” have failed to act quickly on the modernization of airports and roads, reported the Washington Post.
Unlike the U.S., most countries separate air traffic control duties from their aviationsafety organizations, but privatizing operations is uncommon as well.
Although Trump accepted the obsolete nature of the system compared to other countries’ airports and welcomed the idea to take back control, he did not, however, endorse privatization explicitly, said a participant of the meeting to the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, other lawmakers oppose reducing Congress’ watch over aviation and business. Also, private aircraft owners worry they would lose access to bigger airports, and their costs would eventually go up.
Trying to privatize air traffic control
Only last year, chairman of the House Transportation Committee Bill Shuster introduced legislation to privatize the system. Opposition members of Congress let the bill stall.
The National Air Traffic Controller Association is pro-privatization, while other FAA unions are against it, reasoning they have made significant progress regarding modernization throughout the past ten years and airlines have been direct recipients of the benefits.
Trump promised to help airline executives deliver the best service through minimal delays and at the lowest cost, in the meeting described as a “positive sessions” by some attendees.
Airport officials brought up a measure to increase airline passenger fees so airports could get a part of their money to put toward the updates. Airlines and Trump himself were not for raising fees.
Trump talked about announcing a plan in the next three weeks to reduce taxes on businesses and push back government regulations. Airlinesn haven not taken well to recent government regulations which forced them to increase fees and posed rules on how and what information they could advertise to the public, stated the Washington Post.
American, Delta and United and their unions requested foreign competitors who are subsidized or avoid the White House block labor laws. The subject was addressed briefly.
Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban travel to the U.S. from seven mostly-Muslim countries failed to make mention during the entire convocation.
As airports have been collapsed lately and airlines are struggling to follow the order, several airline leaders criticized the order, most notably American Airlines CEO Doug Parker who missed the White House appointment.
“[The executive order] does not affect the values that this company is built upon – those of diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance,” said Parker in a letter to employees.
Robert Mann, an airline consultant, and former American executive, confessed it was a wise decision not to bring up the subject of the immigration ban. Business executives have to “make nice” with government agencies, Mann told the Washington Post.
The order is presently on hold while a federal appeals court is reviewing it. The court has yet to announce their decision.
Source: The Washington Post