The FAA Managers Association today announced it will oppose Rep. Bill Shuster’s proposal to spin air traffic control operations away from the agency into a nonprofit corporation.
“Giving the airlines control of the national air traffic control system is tantamount to giving the nation’s Interstate Highway System over to trucking companies and highway contractors,” association President Andy Taylor said in an exclusive statement to POLITICO. “There is no difference.”
The group, which represents career managers at FAA, has advocated for Shuster to add someone with safety oversight responsibilities to the makeup of the board of directors. It has also expressed concerns about the lack of explicit language precluding strikes.
In its critique, the association pointed to issues airlines have had in recent years with computer glitches leading to mass flight cancellations — not to mention customer service controversies that have drawn criticism from lawmakers and the public.
“We cannot risk placing something as complex as our nation’s air traffic control system in the hands of the airlines and their flawed business and customer service models, and expect the same levels of safety and efficiency that the American flying public has come to expect,” Louis Dupart, the association’s executive director, said in the statement.
The group also cited differences in the air traffic control systems in Canada and some European countries, which proponents have pointed to as examples of what U.S. operations could emulate, compared to the FAA system that manages major non-commercial users.
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