FAA, Unions React To ATC Plan

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The aviation community is continuing to respond to the Trump administration’s proposal on Monday to privatize the air traffic control system. FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta released a brief statement, saying he supports “looking at new ways to help us provide stable and sufficient funding to more rapidly modernize our system, while maintaining the highest level of safety.” He concludes: “The proposal to create a separate, non-government air traffic control service provider is a step in a process that needs to involve all users of the airspace system and deliver benefits to the system as a whole.” The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the union representing FAA employees who install, maintain, support and certify computers and other equipment, also issued a statement, strongly opposing the president’s plan.

“Privatizing the largest and most complex aviation system in the world is a risky and unnecessary step at this pivotal point in its modernization,” PASS said. “True progress is being made through Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) programs. Breaking apart the system to establish a monopoly will take the focus off the substantial progress already being made. This would slow down enhancements and possibly compromise safety to fix a system that’s not broken. … It is unfathomable to consider gambling with the future and safety of our air traffic control system by putting it into the hands of an organization that diminishes the voice of the American citizens who will be most affected by it. PASS will continue to work tirelessly with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to keep this misguided proposal from coming to fruition.”

NATCA, the union representing air traffic controllers, said on Monday they would review the specifics of the ATC reform legislation to “evaluate whether it satisfies our Union’s principles, including protectingtherights and benefits of theATC workforce.” On Tuesday, NATCA spokesman Doug Church reiterated that position to AVweb: “It is too early to support or oppose. We need to see the legislation first. We look forward to reviewing the specifics of legislation.”

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