EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The American Federation of Government Employees is joining with other employee organizations in opposing the possible privatization of the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control system.
President Donald Trump wants to privatize the country’s air traffic control system, a proposal that could impact employees at William J. Hughes Technical Center and NextGen research at the site. Under the proposal, air traffic control would be removed from the FAA. An independent, nonprofit corporation outside the federal government would be created to modernize and provide control services.
“FAA employees have decades of specialized experience maintaining the National Airspace System that cannot be replaced without great costs to American taxpayers and great risks to the flying public,” said Ron Consalvo, president of AFGE Local 200, which represents more than 340 federal employees at the technical center.
AFGE is one of seven organizations representing FAA’s rank-and-file employees and managers that sent a joint letter to leaders from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in opposition to privatization.
The group claims that privatization would jeopardize the FAA’s almost-completed work to develop the nation’s Next Generation Air Transportation System. NextGen is a system of sensors based around automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast technology. The ADS-B technology lets air traffic control workers have a better idea of where craft are in the air.
“Quite simply, overhauling the entire aviation system by removing air traffic control from federal oversight and funding will be a serious setback for its development and growth,” according to the letter. “Our air traffic control system is a national public asset and we strongly believe it should remain in the public trust.”