[US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

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[US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by VNAF ONE » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:10 am

Monday, US President Donald Trump announced a plan to take the air traffic control system, which is currently run by a government organization (the Federal Aviation Administration), and make it private, run by a nonprofit corporation with a board consisting mostly of major US airline representatives. The FAA, which is a part of the Department of Transportation, will still be responsible for most usual things such as safety, but the towers, employees, and equipment would belong to the corporation.

The idea comes from delays to the FAA's NEXTGEN project, which is simply put, a plan to overhaul the airspace system and make it easier to use. The project is meant to save airlines and travelers money. Trump and some of the airline executives don't believe it is moving quickly enough and say a corporation would be able to do things quicker.

I bring this up here because I know some of you are familiar with your aviation authorities in other countries, where some may us a semi or fully privatized ATC system. Please give us your thoughts as well. It appears the US is trying to mirror the ATC system in place in Canada, which is fully privatized by an organization set-up by the government. However, Canada's aviation system is about the capacity of Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas in terms of airplanes and airspace.

Feel free to read more and research the subject, but a heads up this is likely to be the talks in US aviation for some time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... 49672dfe2a
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Neocon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:50 am

I watched it live when the announcement was made and the coverage before and after. There is no doubt ATC is way out of date. At the same time, I'm concerned that a lot of people with older aircraft may have to spend a lot of money to update their equipment.

I still think that, with today's tech, there is no reason that every commercial aircraft in the world cannot be tracked in real time with their flight data synced to a central database constantly throughout every flight. There is no reason an aircraft should be able to vanish with no idea of where it was and why it happened.

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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Gunny » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:49 am

I worry that with the board members being major airline executives it would skew the decision-making on the side of the airlines and not in the public interest.The free market economy has a history of erring on the profit side and not in the interest of safety or the public welfare.If safety takes money it is usually very slow in coming unless forced on them.
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by VNAF ONE » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:47 am

Agreed, the equipment is totally behind and there is no reason for losing an aircraft mid-air at all. I am also not surprised to hear the airlines have not updated their aircraft to accommodate NEXTGEN as quickly as the FAA is putting it together.

The real threat is to general aviation which consists of the flight training, aircraft rentals, privately-owned aircraft, corporate services, and charter operations. There is even more than that, but the threat of paying additional fees for services that are already being funded by taxes is ridiculous. The airlines honestly only account for about a third of the market. Putting them in control is not the way this should work. It really just needs to be re-evaluated and done differently if at all.
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Neocon » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:02 am

A couple of years ago I read that one of the reason the transition to GPS hadn't happened was because airlines were not spending the money on equipment because they were waiting to be told they had to do it. They've just be told to do it. Will they drag it out? He mentioned in the speech that the plan accounts for smaller airports, general aviation, and Air National Guard purposes. We'll just have to wait and see.

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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by KM6BZH » Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:20 am

The only thing that I really want the government to do.
Make the private pilot testing easier and more accessible so I can become a pilot :D

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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Barr » Thu Jun 08, 2017 7:12 pm

The guard base here in the state has private contracted controllers though everything else is FAA.

Remember though many people think that when a govt agency goes 'private' many assume that some corporate pig is gonna take over. The feds will still have alot of control over it and any profits wont be hogged by a pig either.

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation and the Rhode Island Bridge and Port Authority are private agencies though the state/dot still has major control and influence in their operations.

Also pilots might have to pay for tower services but federal money wont or shouldnt be going into this new private agency. I hope...
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Neocon » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:05 pm

It could end up being similar to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which will receive very little funding from the government and will be paid for by "pilots like you."

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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Gunny » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:14 pm

As if pilots, private and commercial don't pay through the nose already.
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Neocon » Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:25 pm

What if the new fees drive more private pilots out of flying, so less fees are being paid, so fees increase, which drives more pilots out of flying, and it is a spiraling decline of pilots and increase in fees? It could get to the point where only airlines can afford to fly.

That might be what they want.

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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Gunny » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:05 am

I firmly believe that the FAA and the commercial airline industry are indeed trying to regulate and price private pilots out of the sky.The skies are almost constantly inundated every day and controllers are stretched to their limits in many airspaces in the country.And since this country is commerce driven it makes sense that it would be private pilots that would be targeted for downsizing.And what better way than to regulate and charge ridiculous prices for private pilots goods and services, since it would be politicly and economically disastrous for the government [FAA] to admit that they could no longer support a safe private sector alongside a safe commercial airline industry in the sky any longer.And even if what I think is not the case, at some point in the future the skies will be just as crowded as the LA freeway at rush hour.It is almost there now in many areas, O'hare, Boston, Atlanta and Kennedy just to name a few.As a private pilot, I would avoid areas like that like the plague.When I was flying actively it did not seem that chaotic or stressful at the time, of course, that was many, many moons ago in a reality far, far away.
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by VNAF ONE » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:38 am

I worry about the fact that the proposal as of now is very focused on putting airlines in control. They are somewhat at competition with corporate and charter companies who are growing very quickly and providing more affordable ways of transportation to the upper-middle class. The corporate and charter companies fall under general aviation, which is getting the short end of the stick. Depending how the fee system works, it could negatively affect the general aviation businesses such as corporate, charter, flight training, and aircraft rental operations that would be subject to paying fees in addition to hardly making profit as they are now.
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Re: [US] Privatizing Air Traffic Control

Post by Swift » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:24 am

Patrick31337 wrote:
Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:05 pm
It could end up being similar to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which will receive very little funding from the government and will be paid for by "pilots like you."
And then in a few years they'll be begging for money over the radio, as if it wasn't expensive enough to be a pilot as it is.
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