Privatizing air traffic controllers will fundamentally destabilize air travel in the United States.It is bad for travelers, workers, and businesses and our economy. It will disrupt and add uncertainty and risk to one of the safest air traffic control systems in the world. It will increase costs for both passengers and airlines, remove key protections for workers and consumers, eliminate middle class jobs, and reduce resources and facilities in rural areas.
The separation of safety regulations from operations will create disruption and uncertainty. The current ATC system is one of the safest in the world, we shouldn’t be turning it over to a private entity with monopoly status, little-to-no Congressional oversight.
Those responsible for safety and those responsible for day-to-day operations should continue to be under one roof and serving together with a common mission.
Privatization will increase costs for passengers already frustrated by opaque pricing standards and fees. A privatized ATO will be able to raise taxes and fees indiscriminately, leaving prices unpredictable and ever-increasing for passengers.
In a system plagued by congestion and overcrowding, privatization will do nothing to improve efficiency. Travelers will continue to experience increased delays and the changes could further slow down programs like NextGen that have already begun to solve these problems by creating a new bureaucracy that has to work on its implementation.
Privatization will remove key protections for workers by removing protections from tort claims, exacerbating bureaucratic silos between air traffic control and safety workers, deemphasize experience and expertise in hiring.
Privatization will lead to the elimination of middle class jobs. Finding “efficiencies” in the system is simply code for “layoffs”—a private and unaccountable company will inevitably seek to cut personnel costs.
Under the ATO privatization scheme, costs will likely increase for airlines, rather than decrease, and will inevitably be passed these costs to customers. The new bureaucracy will simply replicate the existing organization, but force the creation of a new and costly parallel management system. Rather than streamlining costs, privatization will create a bloated and costly new staffing infrastructure.