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Trump Calls for Privatizing ATC Operations

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Trump Calls for Privatizing ATC Operations

Old 27th Mar 2017, 10:25
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: UAE
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Fer chrissake don't tell SERCO.
Don't SERCO already provide ATC at around 50 American Airports? You never know Chevvron there may be opportunities for BCU's too
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Old 27th Mar 2017, 12:55
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Originally Posted by Tower Ranger View Post
Don't SERCO already provide ATC at around 50 American Airports? You never know Chevvron there may be opportunities for BCU's too
SERCO took over a company operating 50 odd non-FAA ATC facilities called Barton ATC Inc some years ago. I think they are just towers as approach control is mostly done from TRACONs in the USA.
Apparently their controllers are trained to the same standards as FAA employed ones but don't have a license or certificate. I don't know who certifies their competence; presumably the FAA do.
Anyone from the USA care to enlighten us?
chevvron is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2017, 21:56
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Paradise
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Typically when govts privatize ATC it changes from a huge govt expense into a profit making company. (Which in turn pays taxes to the govt.) Whether or not the entire transaction is a success or not depends on the organization taking over, of course, but also on your point of view, ie money vs service. From my experience, the money always wins.
the Shue is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2017, 07:42
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2015
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There are many private ATC facilities currently in the US.
This is true, but they are all low-level tower facilities. I don't know the stats, but I'm guessing an overwhelming majority are only VFR towers too. People like to talk about how much money the "Contract Tower" program saves every year. The funny thing to me about these comments is that the people making them are often completely ignorant of the fact that the companies which operate federal contract towers (FCTs) do not train controllers from zero experience to certified professional controllers.

Midwest ATC states, "We offer rewarding positions for qualified air traffic controllers...", while Serco specifically mentions the requirement of a Certified Tower Operator (CTO) certificate as part of the application process. These companies are not taking people interested in BECOMING air traffic control specialists and dealing with the subsequent percentage of applicants who are unable to perform to the required levels of proficiency and safety.

No, they hire individuals with operational experience as air traffic control specialists and train them for the facility they will be working in, just like an FAA controller transferring from one facility to another. Where's the cost savings? Simple, I forgot to mention the controllers the contract companies hire work with less staffing, increased job responsibilities, and for less compensation. These companies also do not maintain most of the equipment required to provide the air traffic services which they advertise as their product. I bet I could reduce the cost of providing a community with fire protection too if I could hire previously successful firefighters and have the community provide my employees with all the equipment required to perform their function.

The Canadian system is a not-for-profit private system that by all visible measures appears to be working well, and may be worth examining as one example of a "privatized" system.
The Nav Canada comparison is not apples to apples. I'm going to work off old numbers here, but as of 9-15-2015 the FAA had just over 14,000 controllers on their books. The best I could do for finding a Nav Canada number was the 2015 Canadian Business Magazine's list of best jobs, which estimated the number of controllers at 5,100. Nav Canada operates 7 "Area Control Centers" which are the equivalent to the 21 "Air Route Traffic Control Centers" or "Centers" the FAA operates in the US. Not to mention the 24 stand alone "Terminal Radar Approach Control" facilities and numerous combined Tower/TRACON facilities throughout the country. As far as the number of airports and airport control towers each entity is responsible for ... Nav Canada's 41 versus FAA's 260 (half of which are combined Tower/TRACON facilities). I think I have made my point.

The statements comparing Nav Canada's success to the obvious success of a US system structured similarly are less a statement of fact and more a statement of belief that Nav Canada's system could be scaled larger. However, IMO, larger systems are inevitably less efficient than their smaller counterparts. Look at how small companies change as they grow into larger companies. Consider also that Nav Canada purchased all of the infrastructure from the Canadian Government. How could any entity be expected to purchase all the infrastructure that represents the National Airspace System in the US? And if they don't, then you are creating another instance where the government is not necessarily saving money. They are still paying to maintain and improve the infrastructure ... except now they are also paying someone else to manage the day-to-day operations utilizing that infrastructure.

In their view, its not American airspace, its American airlines' airspace. Expect everybody to pay more, except airlines, and witness the decline of GA.
Exactly. The bottom line is the airline industry's bottom line. When they control the board of directors for a US ATC corporation is when safety will become secondary. I do not care what line they feed the PR machine, the fact will remain that the airlines will want to see every conceivable change to the system that will benefit their economic positions. Could it reduce the bureaucracy required to make improvements in technology and facilities? Sure. Could it facilitate better hiring/training/retention in the career field. Perhaps, though I'm less hopeful in that regard. I do not believe as some of my colleagues do, that a US ATC corporation would suddenly result in higher pay and better benefits for controllers. Quite frankly, that just isn't American. Regardless of profit versus non-profit, American culture is not to hand out better pay and benefits. It is much more about getting the most for as little as possible ... and I believe that would be the mindset of a board of directors. Particularly a board of directors with a vested interest in reducing the cost of the provision of ATC services to their companies.

I can not even begin to touch on the impact to Corporate and/or General Aviation, expect to say that there is a reason why so many pilots come to the US for their primary flight training. General Aviation is next to non-existent in countries with privatized ATC and the resulting user fees. You think American or United want to follow that slow C510 on final at O'Hare? Nope. You think UPS or FEDEX like all those TCAS events they get going in and out of smaller feeder airports where there are numerous small aircraft involved in flight training with inexperienced pilots while they are trying to deliver their freight? Absolutely not. You honestly think the airlines would not try to change the level of service provided to non-airline users? You are incredibly naive if you think they would prefer the status quo.
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Old 28th Mar 2017, 15:14
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
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I feel like I am reading a forum about NATS from 17 years ago.

Fear of the unknown.
zonoma is offline  
Old 28th Mar 2017, 23:16
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: france
Posts: 126
And still nobody with the idea to join us all to launch and self-manage OUR own private ATCO company and sell our ATC services just in OUR own interest to airlines and airports ??...

Or you prefer to wait until other money makers do it in THEIR only own interest ??...

#GlobalSKYmarket is definitely on the way.. it's time to choose to save our part !!...

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Old 30th Mar 2017, 08:17
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: world citizen
Posts: 144
0.5% potential

The average airline spends 4-6 % of their total operating costs on ATC. So in turn if we can shave off 10% of the the total ATC-cost by privatization, (which would be a major accomplishment as 80% of this cost is salary) the average airline will have saved about 0.5% of their operating cost... 0.5%!

Is it really worth all the fuzz, and giga-investments?

Current ATC is safe. Really safe. Built on a foundation that took a few generations of controllers to create. If we start chipping away on that foundation, nothing will happen initially. But in the long run, profit cannot be the primary concern in ATC without a major impact on safety.

Let's work on eliminating delay and maximizing capacity where needed, and at the same time reducing our impact on the environment. When this is done we'll know the true cost of ATC and we can then transfer this cost directly to each and every airline ticket as a passenger ATC tax. In Europe that would currently correspond to approx. 4 per passenger per flight.

ATC is an infrastructure and should be regarded as such. Privatizing infrastructure rarely ends well. Controllers are safe and effective by default. It's part of our upbringing. We certainly don't mind participating with our know-how and core competences, but we will not be funding the airlines' ambitions about "free airfare" with our jobs and benefits just because they do the best astro-turfing. - 0.5% -
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Old 1st Apr 2017, 13:27
  #28 (permalink)  
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midhurst is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2017, 20:01
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Mauritius,soon or latter
Posts: 521
I am one of these who believes that we could offer "competitive" price without reducing salaries and benefits...
And I think that our excellent financial position is not core of problem.
But milions of eurs spent inefficiently on administrative and stupid ideas -are problem. ( CEATS, quality,security...to name a few of it)
As I pointed out earlier, lower customer price doesn't mean anything bad for safety and personal benefits of operational persons.
How much is 4 eurs per ticket in Europe too much?
My recent bought tickets :
1500 NM- 2,99 eur-nov 2016
2000NM-20 eur
2000NM -18
Even legacy carriers,
Easily takes you 1000-1500 NM sectors within Europe for less than 50$ ( terms andconditions apply )
If we aren't competitive soon or later someone will realize how to reduce these costs.
SINGAPURCANAC is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2017, 09:26
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: EH
Posts: 14
How is security and quality spending a "stupid idea", exactly?

You don't have to be competitive when there's no one to compete against. And if providing (even cheaper) ATS were as easy as you're making it seem, we'd have a bunch of blooming fully-private, non-state ANSPs around by now.

Last edited by LFVA; 2nd Apr 2017 at 10:20.
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