U.S. News


Trump Wants To Give Air Traffic Control A Major Update

President Donald Trump announced the plan Monday.
Posted at 11:20 AM, Jun 06, 2017

President Donald Trump wants to give the U.S. airline industry an upgrade by privatizing the nation's air traffic control system.

The Federal Aviation Administration is in charge of guiding and tracking airplanes. But critics say the radar and radio tech it uses to do that is outdated.

On Monday, Trump proposed putting air traffic control in the hands of a private, nonprofit organization that would use modern equipment, like GPS technology. He said the FAA would still oversee airline safety.

The FAA has actually been trying to incorporate GPS-based navigation for flying point-to-point for several years, but the process has been slow.

Utilizing GPS-based navigation could cut fuel consumption and flight delays.

Many big commercial airlines support privatization, and Trump's proposal even lets airlines help shape the new air traffic control organization's board of directors.

But Congress might still want to keep the airline industry under the government's eye. In May, lawmakers threatened airline execs with future federal regulation if they didn't improve customer service.

"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.

Trump's proposal is just that — a proposal. Despite all of Monday's pomp and circumstance, he basically just signed a letter to Congress outlining his ideas.

He'll need congressional approval for the plan to go any further.