President Donald Trump’s plan to privatize Air Traffic Control is getting a chilly reception from Tennessee’s airports.
This past week Trump urged Congress to strip Air Traffic Control from the Federal Aviation Administration and shift it to a for-profit company. He called the current system “stuck, painfully, in the past.”
Bob Minter is Executive Director of the Tennessee Aviation Association and speaks for the state’s 76 public airports, including Nashville International. He says the association generally favors the president’s efforts to deregulate the airline industry.
But Minter says the president is exaggerating problems with the nation’s air traffic control system. He says the system isn’t broken and doesn’t need fixing.
“There are some things that could be done a little better, but the ATC itself is the safest in the world… It’s being mis-characterized and I think misunderstood.”
Minter says FAA does need to update its equipment, but he points out privatizing won’t fix that problem.
“That doesn’t make it unsafe. It just means that it could be a whole lot better if there were better equipment… But it’s not the FAA fault, it’s congresses fault. Therein lies most of the problem.”
Minter says his members also fear that privatized air traffic control will mena the imposition of user fees. He says any such fees would likely be “onerous.”