Reforming Air Traffic Control

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operates the nation’s air traffic control system. It also regulates aviation safety and provides grants to airports. The agency has a $16 billion budget and 45,000 employees. In recent decades, many nations have partly or fully separated their air traffic control (ATC) systems from their governments. In 1996 Canada moved its ATC to a private nonprofit corporation, Nav Canada. That reform is the model for an FAA restructuring bill that just passed the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Air traffic control reform is long overdue. Moving ATC operations out of the government would improve efficiency and spur innovation. The benefits would include shorter flight times, fewer delays, and lower fuel costs.

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