FAA Privatization in the News

Even as Congress sits in recess, the heated debate over FAA contracting out continues. In one Missouri news report, FAA controllers talk about safety and provide anecdotal stories to prove their point. To prove that they are good samaritans one union official said, “Our motive is safety…We’re not worried about our jobs – we would get transferred to other jobs. This is a safety issue.” Perhaps they’re worried about the safety of their jobs? (Even though this raises another, more serious question about expensive, poor performing federal employees and their ability to stay on board and “transfer.”) However, another article from nearby Minnesota sheds some light on the issue, and provides a more balanced analysis of the issue. It is quick to point out that nearly 200 control towers in US are currently operated by contractors and that they “report about two and a half times more error-free operations than FAA towers.” Additionally it notes that “many private controllers are former FAA controllers and that they may have more experience than current FAA employees.” So let’s be honest, is this really a safety issue? Or is it a labor dispute?