Privatization vote not on calendar
$200,000 per plane, according to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
One of the strongest proponents of privatization has been Airlines for America, a trade association that represents the major airlines. Its members would have representation on the board, and other stakeholders would, too, including unions, airports and general aviators who operate private, non-military aircraft of all sizes.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which represents nearly 350,000 pilots and small plane owners, said the new proposal raises serious concerns, including national security issues, and has divided the flying community. AOPA believes the air traffic control system is the best and safest in the world and opposes handing it over to the airlines and special interests.
“This is about control,” said AOPA chief lobbyist Jim Coon. “I haven’t seen any proposal by the airlines that has shown how they’re going to do this better, how they’re going to do this cheaper, how they’re going to do this quicker, and they’ve been involved in modernizing our system since the beginning.”
He said proponents of this proposal are few and that they are wrong to give control to “the same people who want to make your seat size smaller, who make billions of dollars in baggage fees, who are relentlessly accused of poor customer service and who have failed themselves to equip most of their airplanes with modern satellite-based air traffic technologies.”
Mr. Shuster could not be reached for comment, but he made his case for privatization last week in a Washington Times op-ed.
“Federal bureaucracies are functionally capable of providing regulatory oversight, but they are bad at providing a high-tech service and really bad at innovating,” he wrote. “Whom do you trust to run an efficient high-tech service? The private sector and a balanced board of aviation systems users who have the strongest interest in ensuring the most modern, efficient and safest aviation system possible or a government bureaucracy already responsible for three decades of mismanagement?”