Can Trump Privatize America’s Air Traffic Control System?

The U.S. airline industry cheered President Donald Trump’s announcement on Monday that he would seek to privatize America’s aging air traffic control system. Nicholas E. Calio, president and CEO Of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade group, cited an antiquated system stuck in gridlock and said the change would help “modernize for the future and maintain our global leadership in aviation.”

By all accounts, the system needs an update. “At a time when every passenger has GPS technology in their pockets,” the President said, “our air traffic control [ATC] system still runs on radar and ground-based radio systems that they don’t even make anymore, they can’t even fix anymore.”

A4A corroborates this, citing “WWII-era ground-based radar and paper strips to manage flights in the air.”

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