US airlines have been campaigning for decades to separate air traffic control operations from the FAA and have also argued that FAA efforts to modernize the air traffic system is taking too long and has produced too few benefits.
"Americans can look forward to cheaper, faster and safer travel", the President declared.
The proposed technology changes include moving from the current system based on radar and voice communications to one based on satellite navigation and digital communications.
"This new entity will not need taxpayer money, which is very shocking when people hear that", President Trump said in a Monday news conference.
The privatization idea isn't new: The airline industry has been pushing for it since the 1980s, and the Clinton administration proposed a similar privatization scheme to Trump's in 1994.
The announcement does not come as a surprise, as Trump met with airline CEOs in February.
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Southwest chief Gary Kelly sparked that conversation at a White House meeting, bemoaning an aging system that contributes to congestion at major airports.
A 2016 effort failed to gain enough support from members in both chambers of Congress, even with support of major players like Airlines for America and, after an agreement to protect the union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
Though Trump didn't commit to any specific proposals, he appeared intrigued by what Kelly described as the "single biggest opportunity for aviation". It would transfer control of about 35,000 workers and leave the FAA to focus on safety.
"It's time to join the future", says Trump on ATC reform.
"We live in a modern age, yet our air traffic control system is stuck painfully in the past", said President Trump at a White House event.
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Trump chose to roll with Kelly's idea of a non-proft group to handle the policy.
"The whole air traffic control network is part of the FAA, and you have what is, in essence, a technology business embedded within a governmental agency".
President Trump's proposal outlines an overhaul to the current system, now run by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In an attempt to gain support for a plan that fell short in Congress a year ago, the White House said the 13-member board of directors for the new corporation should be made up of appointees from industry stakeholder groups. They believe a nongovernmental organization would be better suited to handle responsibility of air traffic control because they would have a much easier time cutting through the bureaucratic red tape that the FAA has struggled with in the past.
Among the complaints: The nonprofit would be given the air-traffic control assets at no cost, though no company would buy the equipment in this scrapyard. After all, it's one less thing for the government to control.
It's a classic Republican strategy to break the government and then advocate for cutting or privatizing said government because it's broken, so no surprises there. Separation of the the system is meant to speed up modernization efforts to update the ATC system.
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