News & Information

The Potential Effects of a Privatized Air Traffic Control

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Jun 26, 2017 11:00 pm
  • 21:28

Guest: George Donohue, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Systems Engineering and Operations Research and Founding Director of the Center for Air Transportation Systems Research, George Mason University The smartphone you switch into airplane mode when you get on a flight is running on more advanced technology than the air traffic control system that guides when planes take off, what routes they fly and when they land. The FAA, which both operates and regulates air traffic control, has been working for decades to modernize the system. There have been improvements – for instance, most air traffic controllers are now using GPS rather than old-fashioned radar, to track flights. These changes just barely happened in the last year or two. But the modernization has been slow and fraught with mistakes and there’s a growing chorus of skeptics who think the FAA simply isn’t up to the job. They say a private non-profit could better operate air traffic control in the US and President Trump has now backed that proposal.