“The President endorsed spinning off air-traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration, a decades-old idea that would improve passenger experience and safety.” – The Wall Street Journal
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “You’ve Been Cleared for a Faster Landing”
An evening stranded on an O’Hare airport runway is enough to make anyone mad, and on Monday Donald Trump responded with a plan for improving American air travel. The President endorsed spinning off air-traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration, a decades-old idea that would improve passenger experience and safety. Mr. Trump announced principles for converting air-traffic control into a nonprofit. The new entity would be governed by a board of directors, including representatives for airlines, unions, airports and others. Instead of taxes, the outfit would be funded by user fees, which is how Canada has financed air-traffic services since 1996. The outline makes small tweaks to House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster’s proposal that stalled last year. … FAA regulates itself, so a separation would end this conflict-of-interest and allow the agency to focus on safety and certification. This reform is endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and only the most cynical on the left could claim a spinoff threatens passenger safety. Democrats will say Mr. Trump is auctioning off air traffic to big business, but the principles are explicit that the entity must be a nonprofit. The outline gives airlines only two seats on the 13-member board. … Still, the more remarkable feat is how many in the industry agree on the basics: The airline trade group supports a spinoff, and last year so did the air-traffic controller’s union, which said it will evaluate the specifics of any bill. Former FAA chief officers and Transportation Secretaries also signed on. That’s a testament to how inefficient the current system is.