Who wouldn’t like to make air travel easier, cheaper and more efficient? If you travel a lot, like yr. obdt., then y ou’d probably like to see that happen. If you work for the Federal Aviation Administration, apparently the answer is “probably not.” Excerpt:
In an era of smartwatches and driverless cars, Americans traveling by air sit in planes guided by World War II-era technology, while the Federal Aviation Administration spends billions on its never-ending “NextGen” upgrade.
Started in 2004, NextGen was supposed to replace the outdated radar, radio communications, and strips of paper still used by air traffic controllers. Once in place, this satellite-based system would let planes travel more direct routes, improve safety margins, and save travelers billions of dollars a year.
But NextGen has been fraught with delays and cost overruns and, despite having spent $7.4 billion over the past 12 years, is still 13 years away from being finished.
Up north, meanwhile, the Canadian air traffic control system — which is the second busiest after the U.S. — has already deployed truly state-of-the-art technology throughout its system, letting it handle 50% more traffic while trimming its work force by 30%.
What’s the difference? In 1996 Canada sold its government-run air traffic control to a nonprofit corporation called Nav Canada. User fees finance its operations and pay for upgrades, and Nav Canada is free of the suffocating bureaucracy and endless budget battles that plague the U.S. system. The Canadian government’s role is limited to regulating Nav Canada for safety.
Other industrialized nations have taken similar steps. But in the U.S., any such talk has been blocked by Democrats, for whom privatization is a dirty word.
It shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a system to privatize the air-traffic control system. Set up a system of standards – on time departures and arrivals (barring those that are the airline’s fault) certain budget and personnel requirements. If the first contractor can’t do it, find another that can. The precedent is just over the border in the Great White North.
What the article here misses is the reason the Democratic party so ardently opposes such a measure; the public-sector unions, who are deep in the Democrats’ pockets – and vice versa.
That shouldn’t be enough reason to put up with a broken system.