Dave Hopkins Orange County Register
Letter to the Editor: Privatizing Air Traffic Control a Bad Idea
August 12, 2018
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  • Your editorial missed some critical information. Private air traffic control management may be a “service business’’ but the fact is that it is failing in many other countries.

    The United Kingdom’s privatized air traffic system, which is the one often cited by proponents, has been plagued with significant delays, prompting the recent closing of Heathrow Airport’s air traffic control tower on July 18.

    A report last week highlighted that delays across Europe caused by staffing and capacity shortages doubled by more than 133 percent from the year before, and that the providers in Europe “have not made needed investments in their businesses, preferring instead to make super-normal profits.”

    Nav Canada, the privatized ATC system in Canada, is still in the process of phasing out radar systems that are over 30 years old and just last month a Nav Canada official admitted that staffing challenges at the major airports have resulted a reduced number of controllers.

    Privatizing our air traffic control system is about putting this system in the hands of the biggest commercial airlines, where they could have control over decisions that range from access to investment, all without congressional oversight.

    There are many reasons why privatizing ATC is a bad idea. Let’s not fly that way.

    — Dave Hopkins, The letter writer is vice president of the Santa Monica Airport Association.