Should U.S. privatize air traffic control?

Posted at 9:07 PM, Apr 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-13 01:30:24-04

There’s been a push to privatize the industry that guides our air travel. The idea of a private air traffic control operation is gaining steam. It’s officially included in President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for 2018.

Those that are for the move say it will make air travel safer. Plus, they believe it could reduce lines and make air travel faster.

However, those against the move, like retired pilot Jim Tilmon, feel the move isn’t in the best interest of customers.

“That money making thing stays on the ground. Once we push those throttles forward competition goes out the window," Tilmon said.

Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration oversees thousands of controllers. But the FAA has been criticized for taking too long to roll out NextGen technology because of funding issues. If implemented, it would improve the controller’s current radar system.

"When you look at the thousands of flights that are conducted in very congestive air spaces, in some cases it's amazing they’re able to do the job they do," said Embry Riddle Professor William Waldock.

Waldock is an air travel safety expert. He believes privatization could be a bad move for the airline industry. Waldock says government supervision allows for strict uniform standards to be in place. 

The Air Traffic Controller Association has supported privatization in the past. However, at this time they admit they are evaluating the current proposal.