PHOTO: President Trump's budget proposal includes privatizing air traffic control. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
President Donald Trump will send his first budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 to Congress this morning, and multiple media outlets that have had advance looks at the proposal say it includes a provision for privatizing the nation's air traffic control system.
Removing air traffic control regulation from the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration has been one of most divisive issues in both the aviation industry and Congress.
Virtually all U.S.-based airlines are on board with privatizing ATC—as is the 14,000-member National Air Traffic Controllers Association—with the broad overview being that the FAA’s Next-Gen program to upgrade the air traffic control system is moving too slowly in large part because of yearly Congressional issues surrounding reauthorization.
Not to mention issues with understaffing at major airports.
READ MORE: New DOT Secretary Open To ATC Privatization
Yet, as the Associated Press noted, some members of Congress are not ready to cede government control of air traffic control to private business. Lobbying groups representing business aircraft operators, private pilots and small and medium-sized airports fear the major airlines will dominate the corporation's board—and that smaller aviation entities will be asked to pay more to support the system while facing reduced services.
In the proposal, the Trump administration reportedly said using an "independent, non-governmental organization" will prove "more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety."