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  • 27

Talks on Private Air-Traffic Control Turn Serious in U.S.

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Discussions about removing government management of the U.S. air-traffic control system are the most serious in two decades, prompted by budget cuts and uncertain funding for converting to satellite navigation. Insulating air-traffic management from politics would speed technology development while also providing steadier funding for it, said George Donohue, a former FAA associate administrator. (www.bloomberg.com) More...

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preacher1
preacher1 6
Whether it goes anywhere or not and whether you are for it or against it, it is refreshing that there is even talk about it, especially as a way to do some realistic cost cutting rather than "protect my budget". It will be interesting
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 4
Agreed. From the time you and I reached adulthood until now the many facets of government service have dramatically changed. The service part has gone away and been replaced with dictate and line your pockets. These different agencies have taken their leadership and management styles directly from the big hogs. Just like every company or corporation has a culture set by the top management, so goes the government and it's employees. When you work for people who are terrible stewards of taxpayer $ (they consider it their $) you soon drink the cool aid. IMHO
Musketeer1
Musketeer1 3
So would it be like the airlines where certification, responsibilities and penalties are handled by the government, but the pay scales shift to the private sector? I feel bad for those 'regional' controllers who will be working just as hard for a tenth of the pay. All of that bitching out of the way, I do have to say that in my opinion not one single thing should be handled by the federal government unless absolutely necessary.
timewright
timewright 2
just a quick question. Do any of you use Flight Service, and if so, do you feel the delivered product has improved since Lockheed took over almost 8 years ago?
bovineone
Jeff Lawson 1
I was not flying before Lockheed Martin took over FSS, but I think they're doing a fine job. I've never had to wait on the phone for more than 30 seconds for a briefer, and their newly available web-based briefing is quite nice too. I highly doubt the FAA could have created their own equivalent web interface that was as modern and responsive by themselves.
yayro
Rob Lowe 1
I use FSS. The briefing product was very good when the FAA ran it, but some briefers were downright miserable. It was kinda like going to the post office; you always got what you needed, but the experience depended on who you saw and their relationship with you.

Lockheed was awful when they first started; reaching a briefer was a bear, and the briefing product was marginal at times. They turned the ship around after a few years. The product is now as good as the FAA product was, and the briefers always exhibit professionalism.
LOUV
Lou Vencl 1
Interesting - things are going full circle. ATC was started by the airlines and was later taken over by the government.
fulframe
Gary Hjelm 1
What I am worried about is the transfer of duties from the FAA to the Private corporation. Since I have worked for both the private sector and the government, when a service is privatized it has transition period that can be fairly rough, and that is an understatement. Some of the questions should include, how much time does the private system need in order to reach the capacity of todays commercial and general aviation traffic level? Will it be sixty days, a year, or mabe five years before the current traffic load is met?. Anything longer than a week is going to be met with pressure that is unbelievable. If privatizing the ATC just means that the federal government turn the ATC system over to a group of airlines with the same costs, then what have government accomplished in the transfer? The costs of the start-up corporation dictate that the costs will be higher to the consumer. Then you could have the profit factor of 20% added to what we are paying today, and a passenger could be looking at a surcharge that is around 20% of the cost of the ticket. It could even end general aviation and close many small airports. Once the airline industry starts the lobbyist effort to keep the status quo, this idea will disappear very quickly. In the end this try at privatization will answer the question of taking complex government services and privatizing them. The fact is that the government and private service organizations operate with the same basic problems. The old adage is if it isn't broken, then don't try to fix it.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, Gary, quite a bit broken, to some degree, and there is already a contract tower group in place so I don't think the transition would be horrific, as far as the operation went. They all operate under the auspice of the FAA and unless you know that a tower is contract, you can't tell any difference than one operated by FAA personnel. There are some towers that just actually need closing because of lack of use but they will not be with the government mentality on money of use it or lose it. It probably will be a shock for the controllers, as there will probably be some pay differences and other things. Unfortunately, that is life. In theory, you will se the FAA as a monitoring/supervisory as it progresses forward.
vanbess
vanbess 1
They need to stop wasting money at the FAA and they will have their funding. sometime in the last two weeks they gave $40 Million to a company for Bio Fuel development to replace 100LL when we don't need a replacement. But its the government and they encourage wasting tax dolloars
samsterflight
samsterflight 1
Cutting costs by diverting funds to those motivated by profit rather than safety. It is a recipe to reduce funds available for safety, diverting limited cash to Wall Street. Amazingly stupid and not a thing refreshing about it.
canuck44
canuck44 2
You probably should go back and read the article again, especially the parts on how NavCanada is funded. This is a not for profit and the government retained those functions related to safety and inspections. There is no suggestion of "diverting limited cash to Wall Street". This removes the ATC system from the politics we witnessed under sequester and separates out the non-ATC functions from the moneys paid by the operators so your GA fees do not go to support green frauds etc.

In plain English...the bull shit will have to be funded by tax dollars unrelated to the ATC user fees.
preacher1
preacher1 1
In another round of plain English, it is one big Ponzi scheme that makes Bernie look like a rank amateur. There are many specialized funds that are funded by user fees's, Highway Trust Fund, our GA user and fuel fees and of course Social Security and Medicare, but they are all ENTITLEMENTS now and special use items with users not paying their way. You cannot tell if a user is paying their way or not unless the fund is fully funded. If it is, THEN raise fees but as long as somebody is raiding the candystore you can't really tell.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
And Ponzi schemes always fail at some point. And, the weenies in DC aren't going to shut down the government.
richsmit
Richard Smith 1
So, let's cut out funding to the military, too. Right? There is also waste, fraud and abuse there. Besides, I am sure we can trust Lockheed, Boeing, and Raytheon to do what is best for this country, yes? The VERY REASON ATC is a governmental, non-profit function is the necessity for safety and impartiality. Do you want the ATC System run and influenced by American or Delta or United, etc. ?? What about GA? Ridiculous. This is NOT a "business." Safety first, last, and always. If we can get the FOOLS in Congress out of the picture, all these other things would be taken care of.


Musketeer1
Musketeer1 1
Lockheed, Boeing and Raytheon literally make the military what it is, so I don't understand your question or point. Yes, we should cut defense funding by about 70%. We could start by eliminating homeland security, if you are curious I can go on.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
A lot of us are not against the government running the FAA, but they need to get a grip on spending and on management as a whole. One of my pet peeves is that government employees have a retirement package available at 20 years of service that lasts forever. They are not subject to SS, Obamacare, and a multitude of other laws you and I have to abide with. They have truly made themselves special people. Private sector has had to make changes to survive or go bankrupt. They have made zero meaningful attempt to change their ways and feel any of the pain the citizenry has had to endure. This is all starting to wear a little thin, at least with the working class.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Standard practice over the last ???many years has been to take last years budget, add ?% to it plus anything special you wanted to do and submit it for approval, and it generally got approved. They trimmed and cut the private sector in 08 but didn't do anything but grow government, hence such a deficit. We had a new city manager come in here one year and was faced with a big shortfall. He had all dept. heads go to a 0 based budget. They squealed like pigs caught under a gate, but the city council backed him up. When they were done, not only did his shortfall disappear, a surplus appeared and no projects were delayed or suspended. Novel idea. FYI: That man came from the private sector and knew how to think out of the box. The theory of "use it or lose it" has permeated all levels of gov't now and is kinda like an irrecovable stall or flat spin; no real way out of it except to bail out, let it crash and go another day with a fresh horse.
timewright
timewright 1
When I was with the FAA, we always prepared a list of "needed" items for the last minute use of money not yet spent from the budget. Just as I have been told the military did, the FAA has the attitude that to be frugal is to lose money the next year. So, spend it or lose it forever is the common mentality...
preacher1
preacher1 1
I never saw that either. I was an Army brat all my life and USAF on my time and it was always the same, use it or lose it.
pthomas745
Pa Thomas 0
Mr wallace has no idea what he is talking about.
timewright
timewright 1
I was a government employee for 20+ years, I do not care for koolaid (prefer craft beer), and only like sand between my toes.

Having said that, I agree with much of what Mr. Wallace stated below.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion as he and I both put our time in in 'Nam in order for you to espouse it, but I will respectfully disagree with you and voice mine. In order for you not to agree with that opinion of his, 1 of several things or a combination of them has had to have happened in your life: You are a government employee, you have drank the Kool Aid, or you have just had your head buried in the sand
(or elsewhere) for the last 20 years or so.IMHO
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Ya Wayne I don't know anything about it. I guess my brother didn't retire after 20 of government service (non military) at age 42 with a forever nice pension, then worked 10 yrs in private sector, and is now working in another government job working on another pension. How many private sector jobs give you a pension for the rest of your life after 20. The ones that did are broke or got government bailout. Working 20 then getting paid for 45 more don't work, especially when the workforce is declining instead of growing. Look at the gal from IRS. She is getting rewarded financially for not ratting out the big boys.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Sad but true. I would think at the very least, the time limit should go to an age limit
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
How about 62, for partial, 66 for full benefit ( just like ss). Lol
preacher1
preacher1 1
works for me
pthomas745
Pa Thomas 1
Government retirement system from 1984: All workers enrolled in FERS are covered by Social Security. They contribute to it at the current tax rate and are eligible for the same benefits as all other workers covered by the program.

You can read all about Government Pension Plans here.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CD4QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ssa.gov%2Fpolicy%2Fdocs%2Fprogdesc%2Fsspus%2Fgovment.pdf&ei=aGZCUq_mIuiligKa6YDIAw&usg=AFQjCNFDWxqq41gSHMhyoYFdz4kP-mO9CQ&sig2=i66smc3YinMmV1rqMVFimQ&bvm=bv.53077864,d.cGE&cad=rja
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
3 tiers with the second being a pension. But, that is not the big point of the thread. Government mismanagement, bungling by people who don't know what they are doing, and flat out corruption are the key points. Take your pick as to which may apply to the FAA. Something is wrong or we wouldn't have a problem.
pthomas745
Pa Thomas 1
And you just don't know what you are talking about. You are thinking about 30 years ago.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Yup. It's all running smooth these days.

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