Business leaders slam Trump’s air traffic control plan

Business leaders slam Trump’s air traffic control plan
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Business leaders are coming out in fierce opposition to President Trump’s controversial proposal to privatize air traffic control.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders on Monday, over 100 CEOs called for targeted improvements to the nation’s air navigation system as opposed to separating it from the federal government.

The group, which includes a wide range of companies, such as Hewlett-Packard and Life Time Fitness, said their community depends on air traffic control to keep their businesses running.

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“As members of the business community who depend on our nation’s air traffic control (ATC) system, we are writing to express our opposition to turning it over to a private board,” they wrote.

“Instead, we are committed to improving the ATC system with targeted solutions to identified challenges, and believe that is the appropriate way to enhance our aviation system."

“Business aviation has a history of being at the forefront of these efforts, and we stand ready to make modernization a reality,” the CEOs added.

Earlier this month, Trump called for transferring the country’s air navigation system to a nonprofit entity, which would be governed by a board of directors comprised of users of the system.

The administration argues that removing operations from the unpredictable appropriations process will help speed up long-stalled modernization efforts.

It’s an idea that has been championed by many Republicans in the House and could gain new momentum as lawmakers work on a long-term reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this year.

But critics, which includes GOP appropriators and tax-writers, worry about removing air traffic control from congressional oversight and granting a nongovernmental agency the power to collect fees.

And general aviation users, which include small planes and corporate jets, say that their interests won’t be adequately protected under the new model, which they fear could result in higher fees.

"We stand by the belief and promise from the federal government to all Americans that our nation's airspace belongs to the public, and every person, business and community should have fair and equitable access, not just a few special interests in select cities and metropolitan areas,” the CEOs wrote.