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Privatizing ATC

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bobbysamd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
5,710
Saw this article on my AOPA Newsletter:

==> GA NEWS <==

BUSH TAKES STEP TOWARD PRIVATIZING ATC
In a surprise move last week, President Bush took the first steps toward
privatizing air traffic control services. The president said ATC is not
"an inherently governmental function." He modified the executive order
creating an air traffic control "performance based organization," removing
the language that would have kept ATC within the government. A privatized
ATC would undoubtedly be financed by user fees. "We're absolutely flabbergasted
that the administration thinks that aviation security and safety aren't a
government function," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We must never forget
that the primary function of air traffic control is public safety. And ATC's
role in security was never more evident than on September 11." See
http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2002/02-2-192x.html

Students of airline history will note that ATC began as an airline-run function back in the thirties before Uncle Sam took it over. Some people regard the system as antiquated because it uses 1960s technology. Controllers have been screaming for new technology for years.

Conservatives would feel that privatizing ATC is a good idea because only users of it would pay for it. But, think about that for a moment. I remember taking my Private and maybe one or two other writtens twenty years ago for free on Uncle Sam. Then, the Reagan administration put the FAA out of the written test-giving business and we had to start paying. So, if this proposal goes through, somehow, we, as pilots, would pay for ATC. Good idea? Bad idea? Would privatizing ATC improve its technology and/or, more importantly, safety and quality of service?

Thoughts, anyone?
 
Not that I want to pay it, but I think that it is the fairest way for everyone. I think that it will become more efficient and the costs won't be too high.
 
Well, some ATC facilities are already contracted out. In fact I think for the most part in the SW US (except for the big airports) they are all privately run.

But I think with any paying/pay for operation there will be politics involved. This being applied to the aviation industry, at some point I think it could compromise safety.

Ali
 
Upping the cost of flying.

Some people might argue that privatizing ATC would make flying too expensive for the average Joe and skew the ATC system more toward the airlines than it already is. Don't forget, the average Joe is your future trainee and possible student at your big 141 school.

It's been several years since I've reviewed Part 141. Aren't tower-controlled fields a requirement for schools to be certified under 141? I can't remember for sure. Maybe not. If so, privatizing ATC will up the cost of training. I worked at three 141 schools and all were based at controlled fields.
 
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I think we are missing something here. We are ALREADY paying for ATC. If you look at the details of the federal budget, you will see that most, if not all, FAA expenses (including R&D) are paid for with the Aviation and Airport Trust Fund. The source of revenue to the trust fund is the federal taxes that we all civil users pay on aviation fuel. This works out to the neighborhood of $13 Billion a year. As long as the fuel taxes we paid are put in an account that would fund the privatized ATC (or if the taxes were terminated if we are to pay for ATC services), there would be no appreciable change felt.

Here is some info found on the web:

Background and General Information on the Aviation Trust Fund
The Airport and Airway Trust Fund was created in 1970 to provide user-fee funding for capital improvements to the nation's airport and airway system. At a later date, authority was provided to cover some Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operating expenses.

The aviation trust fund receives its revenue primarily from user fees, including a tax on domestic airline tickets, a cargo waybill tax, and international departure tax, and taxes on aviation fuel used by general aviation, plus interest on the unspent balance of the trust fund. According to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, annual user fee tax revenues into the trust fund will grow from $7.7 billion in FY 1998 to $11.0 billion in FY 2003.

The trust fund provides 100% of the financing for several FAA programs including: the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), the Facilities and Equipment program (F&E), and the Research, Engineering and Development program (R,E&D). It also funds around 50% of the FAA's Operations and Maintenance programs with the remainder of money coming from general appropriated funds.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Airport and Airway Trust Fund accumulated significant unexpended balances. These balances were drawn down during FY 1996 and FY 1997 when authority to collect taxes for the trust fund expired on two separate occasions, costing the trust fund approximately $5 billion in lost revenues. In 1997, the aviation taxes were reinstated.

When the trust fund has an unexpended balance (similar to the Social Security Trust Fund), it allows user fee revenue to be diverted to unintended uses, such as helping mask the size of the federal deficit, which allows the government to claim a budget surplus when none would exist. Under current revenue and spending policies, the uncommitted balance in the trust fund will grow to a record $22.3 billion by the end of FY 2003 and could potentially reach $52 billion by FY 2008 according to FAA data.
 
think we are missing something here. We are ALREADY paying for ATC. If you look at the details of the federal budget, you will see that most, if not all, FAA expenses (including R&D) are paid for with the Aviation and Airport Trust Fund. The source of revenue to the trust fund is the federal taxes that we all civil users pay on aviation fuel. This works out to the neighborhood of $13 Billion a year. As long as the fuel taxes we paid are put in an account that would fund the privatized ATC (or if the taxes were terminated if we are to pay for ATC services), there would be no appreciable change felt.
Andy Neill


I'm willing to bet that if they do privatize ATC. The taxes on fuel will not change. It's free money to the FEDS. They Definitely will not give up free money. Look how long it took for them to open up the trust fund to begin with. It took AIR-21 to open up the million dollar trust fund. And that barely got pushed through.

I honestly feel if ATC go private, There will be more delays, more congestion, and more of a hazard to everyone. We all know that a company only looks at it's profits. If it can do something cheaply why spend money to improve it. (If it isn't broke don't fix it)

In addition, both Canada and the UK had (if not still have) private ATC and it has gone Tango Uniform several times and proven to a very bad idea.
 
Privatizing ATC? It's a bad idea. Talk to some European students (most of us have) and get a feel for the costs involved when you pay for ATC on a per use basis instead of the current system.

Aircraft rental in Engalnd? $160 per hour for an OLD 172, plus fuel at several dollars per gallon. Touch and goes? $5 US for each trip around the pattern. Is it any wonder that the whole world comes here to train?

How about $10 for a weather briefing? $15 for an IFR clearance?
Think this won't happen? Ask yourself, when you are in a hospital, how much do they charge for a common aspirin? In 1981 I was charged $3 PER TABLET.

This is a VERY bad idea. If there was ever a time that pay for use was ill advised, this is it.
 
The privitizing is so bad on so many levels.

The first argument is flawed - a service provided to aviation so that only the users should pay. Really? Only pilots are protected and served by ATC? My general impression is that ATC keeps airplanes from getting tangled in the air. Is that a service to us (the crazy pilots) or the general public? Let about six planes get tangled in the air and start raining down on the public and they will cry for the government to take over and protect them. By the way, let six airplanes tangle in the air and the law suits start flying and then how do you find a company who would take on this liability? The FAA protects the public not the pilots. Everyone on this board needs to stop this argument first. We swallowed this "kool-aid" back three administrations ago.

Someone said there are private towers. No. there are towers that are staffed by "contractor" rather than federal employees. This is still a government operation. NFCT's are not paid for by private funds, they are paid by everyone's taxes.

And like everyone else I agree that no one will mention a word about returning the millions in taxes to the pilots so they can now "pay" for this service. We will still have a tax on fuel and then you'll have to pay $5 for every ATC landing.

I hate big government but it has uses. We need defense, we need a police force, we need those parts that protect the public from themselves. I believe it is the definition of a civil society.
 
141 school airports

FYI I looked up Part 141 to see if such schools require a controlled field. They do not. 14 CFR 141.38 sets forth the airport requirements for a 141 school. It just says, basically, that the school must have continuous use of the airport and the airport must have adequate runways, etc.

Privatization turns on the issue of safety. We don't need to engage in a discussion of Constitutional law to analyze ATC privitization. Tarp is right. ATC privitization involves far more than making "pilots" pay for ATC services, because the costs will be passed on to everyone who uses the services, e.g., all of the flying public. The government has a duty to ensure that flying is safe and must assume that responsibility itself.

Not to open another can of worms, but now I'm wondering if George W. has suggested that the FAA be placed under the new Homeland Security Department. I don't believe he has.
 
Communications fee, navigation fee, landing fee(including T&Gs, $60 for each in Switzerland so I hear), parking fee, flight plan needed for every flight, huge fuel and maintenance prices. Europe sounds like fun.
 

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