The column “Infrastructure reforms could spur growth” (Las Vegas Sun, Dec. 31) unfortunately missed much of the real picture about a current proposal to privatize our air traffic control system.
First, while modernization of our nation’s air traffic control system should be among our nation’s top priorities, the proposal endorsed by the author unfortunately would not save money or modernize our air traffic control system. Instead, it would take our current system, which is overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration and Congress, and turn it over to a private board dominated by the biggest commercial airlines.
Already, airline mergers have left us with four airlines that control 80 percent of the U.S. market. In the meantime, routes to small- to midsized markets have been cut by 20 percent; domestic fares climbed 5 percent over the past 10 years, and seat space on airplanes has reached near inhumane standards.
Now privatization advocates want to allow the biggest commercial interests to direct and control every aspect of our air traffic control system. Under this proposal, airlines could coordinate to limit access to runways and slots for competitors, charge many new fees and taxes, and shut out lower-cost airlines from certain airports or communities.
It is especially ironic that the author cites Amtrak considering this is exactly the type of lack of competition and government-sanctioned monopoly that this privatization proposal would create.
Let’s modernize our air traffic control system in a way that protects congressional oversight and fosters, not hinders, competition and access for communities of all sizes in our air transportation system.