ATM Modernization, Regulation

‘Sully’ Sullenberger Gives His Stance on ATC Privatization in New Video

By Staff Writer | July 21, 2017
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Image from ATC Not For Sale video via YouTube

Image from ATC Not For Sale video via YouTube

If you’re wondering how Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III feels about ATC privatization, look no further than this video to answer that question. The video is part of the ATC Not For Sale effort.

“Lobbyists want to privatize air traffic control, handing control to the largest airlines, giving them the keys to the kingdom,” Sullenberger says in the video. “We can’t trust the people who make your airline seats smaller to run ATC.”

In March, the White House released its fiscal year 2018 Budget Blueprint, which called for privatization of air traffic control.

“The President’s 2018 Budget initiates a multi-year reauthorization proposal to shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization, making the system more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety,” the document read. “This would benefit the flying public and taxpayers overall.”

In response to President Donald Trump's ATC reform initiative, the aerospace industry voiced concerns. Some associations are in support of reform, while others’ views align with Sullenberger’s. More than 100 U.S. business leaders co-signed a letter to Congress in opposition to ATC privatization last month. At the beginning of July, 36 aviation groups declared their united opposition to ATC privatization.

“Say ‘no’ to air traffic control privatization: a threat to our nation’s security, safety, access and basic fairness,” Sullenberger concludes in the video.

U.S. Transportation Dept. Secretary Elaine Chao followed Trump's sentiments with her own during the June initiative announcement. She echoed his emphasis on equipment modernization, saying that this initiative would usher in a “new era of enhanced safety and performances in the skies and spur the adoption of state-of-the-art air traffic control technology.” The initiative, she continued, would accelerate the deployment of new technology.

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  • John Kretzschmar

    Important read. Thanks for sharing. I also have fears about privatizing the ATC. I come at it from a different reason.

    I believe that government exists to do for us that which we are unable to do for ourselves or do well for ourselves.

    Because any legitimate democratic republic is based on the consent of the governed, our government should be transparent with respect to how it (1) works on behalf of and (2) is accountable to its citizens. Government that fails to act in this way is properly considered illegitimate.

    Understood in that light, “all levels of government, in our democratic (small “d”) republic, have the moral responsibility to use our commonwealth in ways that (1) protect and (2) empower ALL of us EQUALLY.”

    Governments have a moral obligation to use that commonwealth to fulfill their protection and empowerment mandates. That means that every governmental budget becomes a moral document, which can be used to see just how well each governmental agency is fulfilling its mission.

    This basic definition of the proper role of government in everyday life does a couple of things which shed light on privatization and contracting out of government responsibilities.

    First, it turns every governmental budget into a “moral document” that can be reviewed as to whether the resources are available to effectively and efficiently carry out that governmental agencies protection or empowerment function.

    Second, it gives a way to criticize the contracting out or privatization of protection and empowerment functions. Contracting out and privatization elevate the profit motive above the moral mandate of government. It also removes transparency, which is a hallmark of good government, because private companies make decisions behind closed doors.

    Finally, it removes accountability because when a business decides to go elsewhere to make money, the government is left holding the bag. Each is bad; together they are a NIGHTMARE!