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Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Privatizing ATC

Could Destroy an Industry... 

Is this really what we want to do?

Central Terminal at Sea-Tac Airport. Photo: Port of Seattle image by Don Wilson, borrowed from Aviation Today.

Join the discussion this week on Privatization of an Industry. To learn more on the subject, read: 


How will this impact General Aviation? How will the impact on GA impact commercial Aviation? What will happen to safety? The snowball is about to roll down hill at a rapid pace unless we do something. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Fight for Right!
XO Karlene 

12 comments:

  1. Karlene,

    My main concern about privatizing ATC in regards to general aviation is how it will impact safety. If there is a cost associated with getting an IFR clearance, it will impact when people choose to do so. While we can argue all day that it shouldn't be this way and people will choose the safe thing, money is a huge motivator for people. It will make a pilot more inclined to "try it" or "take a look first before I get a pop-up IFR clearance." On the opposite end of the spectrum, flying mostly domestic on the 757/767 I think privatizing ATC is probably good for airlines. The system is terrible and needs improvement. I don't know that the FAA can do it since we've had zero ATC changes in the last 30 years and a large increase in traffic.

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    1. Daniel, I think anytime we create a safety system based on money, there is going to be something that fails... because money will trump safety.

      This could be good for Airlines Financially...but I'm not so sure for the safety. When we were hosting our flying event at Renton Airport (non-FAA tower) the controllers were definitely an issue (couldn't handle the workload). Could be individual specific and not the training...but I don't think so.

      I think if you privatize, they will start cutting back controller training. If we could trust business would do the right thing, not the cheap thing... then we would be okay. But, you and I both know that money trumps safety, and first thing that gets cut will be training.

      Would that happen in the tower to realize higher profits? I'm thinking yes.

      Thank you so much for your comments!

      Delete
  2. Its an utter mistake. And the logistics behind it are very complex. The FAA has had the NextGen tech here for years. It just needs the push through Congress who has the main stumbling block to FAA funding. Safety always tends to take a back seat to money as I've witnessed for many years during the outsourcing era.

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    1. Tom, Thank you so much for your comment. I could not agree more. The issue holding up NextGen is security, and I cannot underestimate the security to be lapsing if this were to occur, as it's all about business and making money.
      Thank you so much for your comment!

      Delete
  3. As someone who has flown both in FAA airspace and does most of my flying under NAV Canada, I don't see any reason why a system like ours would be a thing people are afraid of. It's pretty interesting how low tech the FAA still is in 2017 (using paper progress strips). Anyways, a private not for profit ATC system should not be something feared and the age old arguement about pilots avoiding flight plans because of the cost is a pretty weak argument; our pilots still file flight plans and use the services here.

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    1. Kristopher, thanks for your comments! Do you fly GA or commercial? I think the significance is the "not for profit"... as I don't believe that will be the case in the US. Nobody will go into business for no profit. Even the humanitarian non-profits are making millions on their activity. Going private won't mean high tech, someone has to pay for that... there will be short cuts to make profit on the non-profit status. I appreciate your point of view!

      Delete
    2. But Kristopher, isn't it the case in Canada that everyone who flies pays the NAV Canada surcharge? I'm not familiar with your system. I've had friends who have flown GA in Canada, and automatically a bill gets sent to the address associated with the aircraft tail number.

      Yes, the US FAA has old technology, and yet it has taken a really really long time to roll out the new technology that has been since developed. :-(

      Delete
    3. Thank you for the comment. I didn't know about the NAV surcharge. I know the price for airlines to fly over their airspace is crazy.

      Delete
  4. I absolutely agree that privatizing ATC would be an astoundingly bad idea. We have a pilot shortage as it is... So why would we make it ever more difficult for folks to learn to fly? I am ex airline, and now work six days a week either teaching flying or flying skydivers (best job ever.) If there were 11 days a week, I could work all of them flying. How shortsighted it would be to make the pilot shortage even worse.

    Captain Sandy

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    1. Captain Sandy, Thank you so much for your comment. I seriously believe that this could be another step to further exacerbate the pilot shortage, thus when NEXTGEN is in place they can start removing the required crew compliment.

      If there are no pilots, and we need to keep planes flying, and automation exists for computer controlled operations, then the FAA will approve pilot monitoring of ground controlled operators.

      Thanks again for your thoughts on this! And thank you for teaching our next generation!

      Delete
  5. This is a copy and paste from my email:

    Right now, it is illegal for ATC to go on strike, as it was in 1981. If the system is privatized, will it give controllers the right to strike? When ATC goes on strike in Europe, it makes a big mess of things for general aviation and commercial. Do we want that possibility here?

    Karen Gauby

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    Replies
    1. Karen, Thank you for your comments on this. I think there will be many big messes!

      Delete

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