CORPUS CHRISTI – Critics say President Trump’s plan to privatize air traffic control could cost you more to fly. Under the plan, the system would be handled by a non-profit company, instead of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airlines would be charged a fee to fund the private system, and critics say that fee would be passed on to consumers, meaning higher ticket prices. Some people believe the airlines won’t stop there, and will raise prices even more.
New York Senator Charles Schumer says the plan “… would put the same airline companies who have added baggage fees, change fees and shrunk leg room in charge of the air traffic control system and, worse still, it could clear the runway to charge consumers even more.”
The Alliance for Aviation Across America also opposes the idea. They are a non-profit aviation group.
Selena Shilad is their executive director.
“You (it) would be funded by fees and taxes coming from the people flying in the system… Given the airlines’ track record, we can pretty much bet that that would end up falling on consumers and communities,” Shilad says.
The President says the plan would mean shorter wait times and fewer flight delays. Passengers we talked to at Corpus Christi International Airport today said they’d be willing to pay more for those alleged perks, but not too much more.
“You know, less than $10, $20, $30, something like that. I wouldn’t, that wouldn’t bother me,” one man said.
“I waited three hours delayed this morning to get down here. I would pay a little extra not to wait three hours,” another man said.
The President says the plan would mean cheaper tickets because they wouldn’t be taxed as much. Congressman Blake Farenthold anticipates cheaper tickets. He says the airlines would save more money than what they’d pay as a fee.
“It’s my belief that that fee will be more than offset by fuel savings, by more direct routing, and less delays,” Farenthold says.
Farenthold points out the airline industry is competitive. He says all it would take is for one airline to lower prices, and the others would have to follow.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see how President Trump’s plan will potentially impact people’s wallets.