Privatizing the U.S. Air Traffic Control (ATC) system has been a Heritage priority since the 1980s.
Recently, President Trump adopted the Heritage stance on privatization as part of his proposed budget and he has gotten behind the current legislative effort to end government control of the nation’s ATC system.
This is one of the most significant free-market transportation reforms in at least a generation.
Heritage policy analyst Michael Sargent points out that one of the effects of our current, government-run ATC, is delayed flight times due to inefficient and outmoded technology. Because ATC services are provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it has severely lagged in modernization, using “20th century radar technology and strips of paper to track the thousands of U.S. flights daily.”
According to a recent report, Sargent describes the effects of government control:
Given that the FAA is primarily a risk-averse safety regulator, the agency is not well suited to provide a high-tech, 24/7 service. Furthermore, because the FAA acts as its own regulator, it faces a conflict of interest when it comes to safety reporting, an issue the International Civil Aviation Organization warned governments to address in 2001.
Sargent goes on to explain how congressional micromanagement further impedes efficient operation, especially because of the politics of the federal budget, and points out the inevitable failure of reform efforts as long as ATC is housed in a slow-moving government bureaucracy.
…fliers tired of flight delays due to inefficient ATC services should demand more for their money’s worth. That means running ATC like a business—not a government agency—in order to generate a faster, safer, and more cost effective aviation system.
Watch Michael Sargent lead the latest discussion on pro-market reforms to our aviation system:
President Trump’s vocal support of the current bill to privatize ATC, the 21st Century AIRR Act, sponsored by Congressman Bill Shuster, has given this initiative more political viability than it had in previous years. As of now, the bill has made it further than any privatization effort to date, passing out of its committee and currently awaiting enough votes to bring it to the House floor.
Thank you for making this impact possible.
Tired of having your travel plans interrupted by flight delays and cancellations? What do you think are the most important effects of privatization of ATC and how would those benefit you and our communities?