Joseph Esmerado The Press of Atlantic City
Keep Air Traffic Control in Hands of Government
December 27, 2016
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  • Regarding the Dec. 14 editorial, “Trump election could be breakthrough for S.J. aviation research”:

    This editorial unfortunately missed a few key points about a recent proposal to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.

    First, all agree the air traffic control system needs to be upgraded to continue important progress being made toward satellite-based, NextGen technology. But privatizing the air traffic control system would result in many more problems than it would solve, and leave smaller businesses and communities out.

    For example, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office cautioned it could not guarantee that privatizing air traffic control would hasten the development and implementation of NextGen technologies.

    The biggest airlines have been the strongest proponents of air traffic control privatization, because they would gain even more power over fees and taxes, routes and airport investments. Under a congressional proposal last year, air traffic control operations would be overseen by a private board dominated by the commercial airlines. These airlines generate an ever-growing list of fees that topped $7 billion last year; they have cut service to small to mid-sized markets by 10 percent, including Atlantic City.

    The congressional proposal to privatize air traffic control would supposedly protect existing pensions and benefits; however, there is no guarantee that Federal Aviation Administration centers would even remain open, given that air traffic control would be overseen by a private board only accountable only to shareholders.

    The existing air traffic control system is accountable to the public and elected leaders, as it should be.

    Joseph Esmerado
    Egg Harbor City