Washington: President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the nation’s air traffic control system needed a modern makeover and urged Congress to approve a privatization plan that he said would increase safety and reduce wait times for passengers.
Dismissing the current system as an anachronism, Trump said the air traffic control operations needed to be separated from the Federal Aviation Administration, an approach that US airlines have long championed. But opponents worry that the plan, which would require congressional approval, will give too much power to the airline industries.
“We live in a modern age yet our air traffic control system is stuck, painfully, in the past,” Trump said, noting the FAA had been working to upgrade the system for years.
“But after billions and billions of tax dollars spent and the many years of delays, we’re still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system that doesn’t work.” Trump added with a touch of humor, “Other than that, it’s quite good.”
The businessman-turned-president’s push to privatize the system came as the airline industry and regulators have managed an extensive period of safety in the skies — there hasn’t been a fatal crash of a domestic airliner in the US in eight years.
Trump chose to make the case to privatize the system at the start of a week focused on repairing the nation’s infrastructure of roads, bridges and airports. But his message was overshadowed by his earlier commentary on Twitter, in which he assailed the mayor of London after the city’s terror attack and criticized his own Justice Department’s handling of his proposed travel ban.