Commentary

Union says private ATC isnít safe

From the Boston Globe: The air traffic controllers union says private air traffic control towers aren’t safe. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department’s inspector general say the private towers are not only safe, they’re cheaper than those run by the government. The controllers and the Bush administration were expected to present those arguments in a hearing Wednesday before the House aviation subcommittee. Opposition in Congress to privatizing air traffic control has led the Bush administration to offer a compromise on a bill that would allow private companies to run air traffic control towers at smaller airports. Some Democrats in Congress, however, say the compromise doesn’t ensure air traffic controllers will remain government employees. Shouldn’t we ensure safe and efficient air traffic control, not job security for government employees? A recent study by the FAA’s National Airspace Information Monitoring System found that outsourcing air traffic control cut costs and improved safety. The privately run control towers experienced fewer operational deviations, like when two planes fly too closely to each other. Unions shouldn’t be so quick to play the safety card. For more see my Privatization Watch interview with the man who oversees 59 of the Control Tower Program’s 219 privately managed towers. Click here for the pdf file and go to page 7.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.