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Mon Jun 5, 2017, 02:37 PM

Air traffic control privatization: A risky corporate giveaway that will harm consumers

Current U.S. law states that "a citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace." The central message is that our airspace should be viewed as valuable public resource to be maintained for the safety and benefit of the many, not the few.

Yet, in the last few weeks, United Airlines’ deplorable assault on a paying passenger can make us all wonder if passengers have any legal rights at all, and certainly has reminded us all of the need for more congressional oversight of the airlines.

Unfortunately, the big airlines are now pushing a risky air traffic control (ATC) privatization scheme that would do just the opposite. Under this proposal, the FAA would hand over control (for free) to an unelected, unaccountable non-profit corporation, likely to be dominated by the airlines themselves.

This would give the airlines nearly limitless power to raise taxes and fees on consumers without any congressional oversight or public accountability which has been a hallmark of our aviation system since its inception. In addition to likelihood of new fees and taxes, access to airports and gates for general aviation and low cost competitors would be driven by the airlines’ priorities over the common interests of the public who have invested tens of billions into the system.

Maintaining FAA oversight of our air traffic control system is likewise critical for national security.

The Department of Defense Policy Board stated that ending the FAA role in managing the ATC system “raises serious concerns” regarding shared infrastructure with the military given that “DOD relies on FAA’s command and control capabilities in the execution of the National Defense mission.”

According to the non-partisan GAO, privatizing air traffic control would also create problems with how the FAA and DOD cooperate on security. Another report raised serious questions about how easily safety roles and responsibilities could be split between a privatized entity and the FAA.

The airline oligopoly has resulted in record profits for the industry. And now, the industry wants even more power.

Unfortunately, those billions in profits have come at consumers’ expense. In 2015 alone, the Department of Transportation logged over 20,000 passenger complaints, and over 40,000 people are “bumped” out of their legally purchased seats every year. Passengers now even have to be concerned about being physically assaulted or literally dragged off of their flight.

Whether it is cramming more passengers into ever smaller spaces, losing baggage, cutting routes to small cities and rural communities, and endless fees ($6.8 billion in 2015); the airlines’ practices and customer satisfaction surveys demonstrate that passengers often come last.

At: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/330635-air-traffic-control-privatization-a-risky-corporate-giveaway

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Reply Air traffic control privatization: A risky corporate giveaway that will harm consumers (Original post)
sandensea Jun 2017 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2017 #1
sandensea Jun 2017 #2
Eyeball_Kid Jun 2017 #3
sandensea Jun 2017 #4

Response to sandensea (Original post)

Mon Jun 5, 2017, 02:46 PM

1. Interestingly, Delta, alone among the major airlines, is against privatization.

And they have some good reasons: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/268278-delta-stands-alone-in-air-traffic-control-fight

"Delta has said the independent air traffic control proposal would amount to a privatization of the nation's flight navigation system, which the company has said will result in higher air fares for U.S. passengers.

"We oppose privatizing U.S. air traffic control or any other attempt to remove air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)," Delta's Senior Vice President of Flight Operations Capt. Steve. Dickson said in a statement.
"The current U.S. ATC system is safer, has fewer delays and is more cost effective than any privatized or separated ATC alternative in the world," Dickson continued."

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Mon Jun 5, 2017, 02:51 PM

2. Perfect reply. Thank you.

And good for Delta. No one expects corporate boards to be made up of saints; but enlightened self-interest is always nice to see.

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Response to sandensea (Original post)

Mon Jun 5, 2017, 03:27 PM

3. Quality post. Thanks.

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Response to Eyeball_Kid (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 5, 2017, 04:57 PM

4. You're welcome.

I shudder to think what might happen if the airlines sack the professionals currently overseeing our vast air traffic control system, and replace them with minimum wage ITC graduates (no offense to the fine people at ITC).

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