"At a time when every passenger has GPS technology in their pockets, our air traffic control system still runs on radar and ground-based radio systems that they don't even make anymore, and which they can't even fix anymore".
FlyersRights.org, the largest airline passenger organization, does not like the idea of an airline-controlled corporate monopoly taking over the nations air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the organization said.
Their union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, endorsed Shuster's bill after winning assurances that controller wages, benefits and collective bargaining rights would be protected.
"Seize this opportunity - because if you don't, we're gonna come, and you're not gonna like it", U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster said.
Shuster said the FAA's NextGen equipment meant to modernize the ATC system and put in place in the past few years will be old technology in the next few years, just as cellphones are continually upgraded with new technology. "However, the specifics matter greatly, so it's encouraging to see the president voice his support for privatization when it comes to air traffic control".
Trump said of air traffic controllers, "Under our plan they will have more financial security, professional opportunity, and far superior equipment - the best equipment anywhere in the world".
"Our plan will get you where you need to go more quickly, more reliably, more affordably; and, yes, for the first time in a long time-on time", said Trump.
"In this environment, bureaucratic efforts are unlikely to succeed", Trump said in a letter to Congress, adding that "a new not-for-profit air traffic control entity that will leverage private capital" is needed.
This plan would shift air traffic control funding so that it is paid for, not by taxes, but by aircraft operators paying for the services received.
Trump's proposal to spin off air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was part of a weeklong White House focus on infrastructure.
"As long as we have this constant barrage of tweets and outrage du jour, it makes Congress' job of moving legislation that much harder", Heye said.
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Winning congressional approval would still be an uphill battle for Trump. "All surpluses will be plowed back to be re-invested in the system", Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao explained.
He said they studied several other countries' plans.
Airlines in the USA have campaigned to separate the FAA. and ATC for two decades, but the proposal still has to pass muster with Democrats.
The organization said that President Trump and Congress should work instead on long-term investment to improve air travel with measures that include construction of two new airports for New York City and Chicago to relieve the main cause of congestion delays, repeal of regulations and laws that prevent airline competition and block public private partnerships for airport ownership, support and construction.