ST. PETERSBURG — President Trump has been tweeting about the London attacks, his travel ban, and Democrats getting in the way of his appointments while the White House is focusing this week on his plan for infrastructure.
Beginning with today's introduction of a plan to *privatize* the air traffic control system.
It's a change the major airlines have wanted. I have some of the pros and cons of going private.
I want to put this in perspective for you. We're talking about a really complex system.
About 50,000 flights take off and land in the United States every day. It's been 8 years since someone died in a domestic air crash.
We have a safe system. The safest airline system in the world. It's not about that.
Potentially privatizing air traffic control in the US is more about politics. President Trump's plan would spin off air traffic control into a non-profit organization run by a board.
Rules would be made through 13 people - 8 of which are political appointees. The remaining 5 would be filled by 4 top executives from big airlines and a union executive.
Here's the pro argument:
“The system will be much more quick to respond - be able to buy new equipment and not be tied up with appropriations from Congress to keep it running,” said aviation expert Mark Weinkrantz. “But if you were making rules, and you were the head of the airline, those business interests may be more in line with their business model than in the service of the public to keep the costs down.”
And those are the cons.
There's real potential here for big airlines to make it more expensive for you to fly, especially out of small airports.
If you're not near a major hub, they could jack up landing fees for small airlines and civilian aircraft.
And all that could go right to ticket price.