U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday moved to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system, as part of a larger scheme to improve the country’s infrastructure.
“I’m proposing new principles to Congress for air traffic control reform, making flights quicker, safer and more reliable,” Trump said in a statement.
In the plan Trump forwarded to Congress, he said “the administration supports moving the Federal Aviation Agency’s Air Traffic Control operations into a new non-governmental entity … to keep pace with the accelerating rate of the change in the aviation industry.”
The proposal outlined criteria that the new entity must meet to oversee U.S. air traffic control, including safety, national security, AND cybersecurity.
Trump lamented the current conditions of the traffic control system, saying it is “ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system that doesn’t work” and that “the previous administration spent over seven billion U.S. dollars trying to upgrade the system, and totally failed.”
“In this environment, bureaucratic efforts are unlikely to succeed,” Trump said in a letter to Congress, adding that “a new not-for-profit air traffic control entity that will leverage private capital” is needed.
The plan has drawn appraises from former transportation secretaries, who lauded the move as the “right solution for the 21st century.”
“The United States is falling ever further behind other countries, such as Canada, that have separated their systems from government constraints, President Trump’s proposal is the right solution for the 21st century,” Former Transportation Secretary James Burnley said.
However, opponents caution that the proposal, which would require congressional approval, will give too much power to the aviation industries.