While the call for all new systems and a complete overhaul of the Air Traffic Control infrastructure may come as good news for some, the impact on efforts by the FAA and the drone industry to fully integrate drones into the system within the next few years is hard to judge.
While other countries now have aviation systems that feature the most modern technology, America's air traffic controllers still have to manage airplanes with paper strips and WWII era technology. "If we adopt these changes, Americans can look forward to cheaper, faster and safer travel, a future where 20 percent of a ticket price doesn't go to the government and where you don't have to sit on a tarmac or circle for hours and hours over an airport". The changes would involve moving from the current system based on radar and voice communications to one based on satellite navigation and digital communications.
"We just want a stabilized stream of funding for air traffic control", said Weaks, echoing what airlines and the controllers union have said for years. The House's top Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said in a news release, "Selling off our air traffic control system threatens passenger safety, undermines the FAA's ongoing modernization, jeopardizes access to rural airports and adds to the deficit".
Most airlines, which have favored the idea for more than a decade, cheered the proposal. "It's a system where everyone benefits from this", White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said in a conference call with reporters.
USA airlines have been campaigning for more than two decades to separate air traffic control operations from the FAA. On Wednesday, Trump will visit Cincinnati for a planned speech on the need to upgrade the system of inland waterways, dams, locks and ports critical for shipping farm products.
"It'll be as safe as it is today or safer", he said. "If we aren't able to modernize and innovate using the latest technology, the impacts to the traveling public will continue to grow".
Trump made a decision to roll with Kelly's idea of a non-proft group to handle the policy. It would transfer control of about 35,000 workers and leave the FAA to focus on safety. Funding for the new organization will come exclusively from user fees, and the use of those funds will be managed by, among others, airline representatives, unions, and general aviation and airports. "Our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past". The proposed non-profit corporation would be controlled by 13 board members; the number of pre-determined seats belonging to major airlines is double that of the general aviation community, which represents 26 times more aircraft than commercial carriers, according to the FAA. "Then those members, along with the board's CEO, would select four independent members".
There will be ongoing dialogue with all stakeholder groups, including representatives of the FAA Tech Center employees, LoBiondo said.
To no one's shock, Democrats in Congress have come out against privatizing air traffic control.