Trump announces Air Traffic Control Reform Initiative

President Donald Trump speaks during the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala at the Ford's Theatre in Washington Sunday

President Donald Trump speaks during the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala at the Ford's Theatre in Washington Sunday

On Monday, the White House will push Congress to vote on legislation that would allow air traffic control to be taken out of the Federal Aviation Authority and instead become a non-government non-profit. He's planning to outline his goals to privatize the system in a White House speech that will be closely watched by the airline industry.

Estes said in a statement that he shares President Trump's desire to improve travel in the US but also wants the plan to protect the needs of general aviation.

"Our air traffic control is stuck, painfully, in the past", Trump said, decrying the "ancient, broken, antiquated, disgusting system that doesn't work". "Other than that it's quite good".

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also lashed out at the plan, insisting in a statement that the president "was recycling "a exhausted Republican plan that both sides of the aisle have rejected" and would hand control of one of our nation's most important public assets to special interests and the big airlines'".

His broader infrastructure proposal, for example, is already facing pushback for its reliance on public-private partnerships, which could mean projects like toll roads. 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.

In a statement, Parker said, "We are seeking a transformational change to the way that the air-traffic control system is financed and governed".

About 60 countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, have gone to similar semi-private management of their air-traffic networks. Approvals that can take 10 years should be done in two years or less, Trump administration officials have said, and the White House has convened a task force of 16 agencies to examine policies, rules and laws that should be targeted to speed up the process.

Opponents say there's no evidence a corporation run by airlines would do a better job.

Currently, the FAA oversees about 50,000 flights per day. He also called the system "ancient, broken, antiquated" and "horrible" and said his reforms would make it safer and more reliable.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas is concerned the plan would hurt small communities. "All but our largest airports nationwide stand to be hurt by this proposal".

The plan would create a private non-profit corporation supported by user fees rather than taxes, a model used in many other countries, including Canada.

Major airlines and the controller's union say the lack of progress is a result of government shutdowns, controller furloughs and dependence on government funding.

Trump described his plan as representing an "air travel revolution", urging the U.S. Congress to separate it from the Federal Aviation Administration.

"Delta makes a pretty convincing case for the costs for other systems in the world have been rising more dramatically than the FAA's operating costs have been rising", said Simmons, who does not think the system should be privatized.

"Anything in terms of impacting the system in terms of cost or safety we should be firmly against", said Mark Baker, President of the 350,000 member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.