Pri­va­ti­za­tion vote not on cal­en­dar

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - National -

$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?”

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