Everyone agrees that we should do whatever we can to alleviate delays and make our system run more efficiently. Unfortunately, privatization of our air traffic control system would likely only make this worse. The vast majority of fees, delays, system outages and headaches that passengers encounter on a daily basis have more to do with the commercial airlines, runway capacity and local government politics than air traffic control.
Yes, the big federal government is a bureaucracy, but it does better than most at air traffic control. If we want to improve things like streamlining certification, let’s do that, but privatization would do nothing to achieve this.
Instead, privatizing our air traffic control system would take away congressional oversight of this system and put the commercial airlines in control so they could run it for their own benefit, privileging only routes and markets they care about, increasing taxes and fees on consumers, putting profits before safety and inhibiting competition.
It would also allow the airlines to invest resources only where the benefits come back to them. For a vast state like ours, where many airports play a vital, lifesaving role of supporting aerial firefighting, as well as law enforcement, medical transportation, search and rescue, and for businesses and commerce, this is a huge problem.
We need an aviation system that works in the best interest of our country, not private interests.
— Michael L. Venable, California air tanker pilot and member of the California Fire Pilots Association