A conference with aviation executives on Thursday at the White House saw an “extraordinarily positive” Trump when he proposed to privatize America’s air traffic control system and to improve the country’s “obsolete” airports and roads.
“Our airports used to be the best, now they’re at the bottom of the rung. We have an obsolete plane system, we have obsolete airports, we have obsolete trains, and we have bad roads. Addressing the multi-billion dollar aviation industry, the former founder-cum-owner of the Trump Airlines promised to “change all of that”.
The participating airport officials and airline staff members had a positive outlook toward the meeting. Following the example of Canada, the American airline organizations have long wished to break free from the Federal Aviation Administration’s control of the air traffic and have demanded that the rights to control the airspace be transferred to a new and modern non-profit organization.
Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines, raised the issue of “modernizing the air traffic control system” and to spending money on its improvement and advancement. “I think there is near-unanimous agreement that we need to modernize the air-traffic control system. We are still using World War II-era ground-based radar to guide the aircraft. We’re not utilizing GPS satellite-delivered navigational tools.” Kelly said. He estimated that the industry suffered a loss of 25 billion US dollars on account of flight delays, air congestions and unusual fuel costs.
Trump also promised to set forth a plan within three weeks to cut down taxes on businesses and reduce government regulations so as to assist the airlines in hiring more employees for the betterment of their services. He also asked the airlines and airports to hand over a list of regulations that, in their opinion, ought to be removed from the system when they come together for a meeting in the next two to three months.
Four years back, commercial aviation was decontrolled by the US government. Despite this, there are almost 13,000 other regulations covering 13 federal organizations. The airlines and their passengers also pay 17 aviation federal taxes, which have shown a growth from 3.7 billion dollars in 1990 to 23.1 billion dollars in 2016 as quoted by a trade group.
The FAA has lagged behind in modernization. The president of Airports Council International – North America, Kevin Burke, said that President Trump supported the demand to be up-to-date with the air traffic control system but seemed reluctant to accept the idea of privatization.
During the course of the meeting, the President distanced himself from the controversial topic of debarring the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations including refugees from the war-ravaged Syria. The order, which was disapproved by the majority of airline industry leaders, is currently being reviewed by a federal appeals court.
The meeting also had a brief discussion on the alleged subsidies being given to the three major Middle Eastern carriers, namely Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airlines. Trump replied to these by saying, “I know you’re under pressure from a lot of foreign elements and foreign carriers. I’ve been hearing that a little bit. At the same time, we want to make life good for them also. They come with big investments.