Trump outlines plan to privatize air traffic control

President Donald Trump announced a plan to spin off the air traffic control system from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The administration's plan outlined Monday includes the separation of air traffic control from the FAA to speed up the modernization of the air traffic control system. It would move to a system of user fees instead of taxes.

"We live in a modern age and yet our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past," Trump said during a press conference Monday. "The FAA has been trying to upgrade our nation's air traffic control system for a long period of years, but after billions and billions of tax dollars spent and the many years of delays, we're still stuck with an ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system that doesn't work."

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union that represents air traffic controllers, said it will review the reform legislation. Last year the union supported legislation to spin-off of air traffic control into a not-for-profit corporation.

The union said it shares the administration’s commitments to infrastructure modernization and a “stable, predictable funding stream” for the national airspace.

The administration is outlining its plan to Congress, which will face the question of how to fund and structure the nation's air traffic control system as a key issue during another congressional fight over FAA reauthorization, with the FAA's spending authority expiring Sept. 30.

Delta Air Lines in a written statement said it “looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress on our shared goal of modernizing U.S. airspace.”

“We remain committed to working together to identify ways to reduce delays, improve efficiency, and enhance airline performance while maximizing safety and minimizing costs,” said Delta spokeswoman Elizabeth Wolf in a written statement.

Read more details on Trump's plan for air traffic control on


AJC Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi keeps you updated on the latest news about Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines and the airline industry in metro Atlanta and beyond. You'll find more on, including these stories:

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