Atc privatization

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Warmi
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Atc privatization

Postby Warmi » Sat Sep 09, 2017 1:36 pm

Last edited by Warmi on Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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foresterpoole
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Re: Act privatization

Postby foresterpoole » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:33 pm

Interesting take, I generally agree that ATC needs a good modernization, I think ADS-B will help. I also agree that some of the current rules are precluding recruitment of qualified and interested people into the ranks of controllers (age requirements are one, some medical rules are others). However, let's get real for a second, as the article points out the airlines are in a race for the bottom. They have abysmal customer service, are horrible at keeping schedules, and their business models are based on sub-contracting and low paid labor. Also, an unanswered question is flight service, it's not ATC, but they are linked, and that sure sounds like something that can be replaced with a computer (and has already to some extent). So I'd kiss that resource, at least the call in service good-bye.

So by all means, let's take our functional, safe (abet antiquated) system and turn it over to the airlines. What in my mind will happen is that the airlines will get routing priority to compensate for their procrastination, controllers will be paid less, the system will shift costs from commercial operations onto general aviation under the guise of equitable cost sharing and general aviation will get less service. It might not be that bad, but I can definitely see it happening.
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MrMorden
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:42 am

I am one of the few GA pilots who are for ATC privatization, at least in theory. I think the Nav Canada system has been nothing but a success, and something we could do well with.

However, the issue lies with the proposed structure. It relies on a single, monolithic provider, which is essentially a government-protected monopoly. We've seen from other such monopolies that they usually don't end well.

What makes private enterprise more efficient than government is competition. When consumers have choices, companies provide better services to gain market share. We see this all the time with internet. In areas where there is a single internet provide, the service is usually terrible and the provider has little incentive to improve -- they have a captive audience. In areas where there are several options, cost drops and service across all providers improves.

I'd like to see some type of competition engineered into the system, where ATC services could have overlapping coverage areas, and pilots could choose their preferred provider based on quality of services provided. It would be kind of like mobile phone service, where AT&T and Verizon have overlapping networks, and you can contract with the service that gives you the best rate and service.

Just my little pipe dream of how ATC privatization could work to our advantage.
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby rsteele » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:43 am

MrMorden wrote:I am one of the few GA pilots who are for ATC privatization, at least in theory. I think the Nav Canada system has been nothing but a success, and something we could do well with.



Andy, one of the things that people who hold up Canada's ATC seem to omit is that it's largely funded from fees paid by international flights landing in Canada. Canadian aviation is about 1/10 the size of US aviation and the mix is heavily biased toward those international flights. So USA and Canadian ATC and ATC funding are in no way comparable. Also the big cheese that runs Canadian ATC (president, chairman, I don't remember the title) makes about $1.5M a year, with subordinates making similar large compensation. That's a considerably better (read more costly) package than any government employee gets.

You will notice there are zero details in any proposed legislation about how this is going to work. It seems to me this guarantees that the people that are pushing this proposal will be the ones that will write those rules when the time comes. This should make everyone in the GA community very nervous.

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:16 am

rsteele wrote:
MrMorden wrote:I am one of the few GA pilots who are for ATC privatization, at least in theory. I think the Nav Canada system has been nothing but a success, and something we could do well with.



Andy, one of the things that people who hold up Canada's ATC seem to omit is that it's largely funded from fees paid by international flights landing in Canada. Canadian aviation is about 1/10 the size of US aviation and the mix is heavily biased toward those international flights. So USA and Canadian ATC and ATC funding are in no way comparable. Also the big cheese that runs Canadian ATC (president, chairman, I don't remember the title) makes about $1.5M a year, with subordinates making similar large compensation. That's a considerably better (read more costly) package than any government employee gets.

You will notice there are zero details in any proposed legislation about how this is going to work. It seems to me this guarantees that the people that are pushing this proposal will be the ones that will write those rules when the time comes. This should make everyone in the GA community very nervous.

Ron


Yeah, the Nav Canada model is largely paid for by airlines, but the GA owners pay a subscription fee for unlimited use of the ATC services. I think for small airplanes like ours the fee ends up about $70 per year. Very reasonable in my book.

I don't care what the various employees make, as long as the costs and fees are reasonable to me as a consumer. How a private company compensates employees is between the company and the employees. Again, this is where competition would serve to limit all costs, including salaries. A monolithic single provider is only marginally better than a government agency.

Of course the devil is in the details, but if the details are right this could be a very good thing for GA. I'm only saying that I agree with the idea of privatization, not any particular plan.

I'm a small government advocate, and I refuse to be one of those guys that screams for less government, UNLESS it somehow affects me.
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby rsteele » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:15 pm

MrMorden wrote:[
I'm a small government advocate, and I refuse to be one of those guys that screams for less government, UNLESS it somehow affects me.


Commendable sentiment. But there is a huge gap between "in theory" and "in reality" when talking about giving away billions of dollars of tax payer assets, and billions in cash, to a private organization who's motives are suspect, at best.

I'm no fan of big government. I don't know anyone that would actually admit they are. However, when it comes to an organization that controls my safety and has it's fingers in my pocket and I don't any ANY control over that organization I really don't like it. With ATC under government control one can at least call congress critters and vote with the ballet. When you have a "non-profit" corporation (Those huge salaries you don't care about are operating expenses, not profit) running ATC, who exactly are you going to complain to? How's that worked out with Amtrak and the mail service? If the purpose of the corporation in to lower cost to the airlines, my safety and my costs aren't going to get a second thought.

I think it's telling that the airlines (mostly, Delta seems to be the holdout) are nominally pushing this because they want modernization. Yet percentage wise they have been the slowest to take up ADSB. The GA fleet is way ahead in this area. As far as airport congestion goes, it's mostly caused by the a combination of the airline schedules that are literally impossible to meet given spacing for safety, and a lack of pavement. Of course the airlines know this but they would never admit it. So, why are they really pushing privatization? I think it's safe to follow the money.

In my opinion, ATC privatization is a boondoggle of epic proportions.

Ron

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:05 pm

rsteele wrote:
MrMorden wrote:[
I'm a small government advocate, and I refuse to be one of those guys that screams for less government, UNLESS it somehow affects me.


Commendable sentiment. But there is a huge gap between "in theory" and "in reality" when talking about giving away billions of dollars of tax payer assets, and billions in cash, to a private organization who's motives are suspect, at best.


Again, the devil is in the details. We would not have to give ANY taxpayer assets to to a private organization. The taxpayers could retain ownership of the ATC infrastructure, and the private concerns could lease or pay fees to provide for the upkeep and modernization of those assets. Similar arrangements are done all the time in many industries from telecom to railroads.

And why would we give "billions in cash" to the private organizations providing ATC? Unless you are talking about the fees collected for ATC operation. That is not a windfall, that is a business getting paid to provide services just like any other. Honestly, I think sometimes we are so used to having government "just take care of" ATC (at great expense to ALL taxpayers, even ones that don't travel by air) that we forget there might be a better way to do things and disregard alternatives out of hand.

One *great* thing about a well-structured private ATC system is that those that derive the most benefit incur the greatest expense. Airlines and freight haulers pay the lions share, with the little guys like us paying some small token amount equal to our burden on the system. Those that don't fly airplanes, or travel by air, pay nothing for a service they don't use. I think that is the model we should strive for in all public services -- those that derive benefit pay equal to the benefit, those who don't pay nothing.
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CharlieTango
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby CharlieTango » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:32 am

I put very little pressure on the current system and I pay no fees. If I look to Europe I see pilots like me pay a lot. I fear change that could end up with me paying a lot.

You have to pay a fee to land at my home airport now.

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby Jim Hardin » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:19 am

Nothing good will come out of this.

Cost will creep in and then only go up and up while services will dwindle. 'we have a controller shortage so we will temporally have to cut GA services and operations to a minimum to keep the airlines on schedule...'

That is how it will really work and I have never received the same level of service for non-federal control towers that I do at FAA staffed facilities. And that observation has been reinforced over the last 48 years.

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby drseti » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:35 pm

MrMorden wrote: Those that don't fly airplanes, or travel by air, pay nothing for a service they don't use.


Ah, but the non-flying public does use the service, they just don't realize it. Have no airplanes fallen on your house lately? Thank the government-run ATC that, in fact, you don't even have to help pay for (the current ATC system is largely funded out of a trust fund composed of ticket tax and fuel tax revenues). Do you eat food? Wear clothes? Read books? All those things are available to you because of the ATC system that helps deliver them to your home, store, or library. If we privatize that system, we run a very real risk of the costs of food, clothing, books, and all other goods going up, as freight costs increase to cover the associated user fees.

Roads and bridges exist because federal, state, and municipal governments are willing to invest social overhead capital for the general wellbeing of all. Why should it not be so for runways, taxiways, radar facilities, tracons, and control towers?

I'm no more a fan of big government than anyone else here. But there are certain public safety activities that are best run by governments. A military run by a private corporation makes no sense to me. Neither does depending upon a private corporation to assure my safety in flight.
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby TimTaylor » Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:45 pm

I don't favor big government or small government. I favor government that is properly sized and funded to do the things the citizens and taxpayers need and want it to do. Some things are better left to the private sector and others to the public sector. I do not favor privitization of ATC.

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:21 pm

TimTaylor wrote:I don't favor big government or small government. I favor government that is properly sized and funded to do the things the citizens and taxpayers need and want it to do. Some things are better left to the private sector and others to the public sector. I do not favor privitization of ATC.


I agree with your first statement. I want properly sized government. To me that means the minimum size to achieve the necessay results. We might disagree on where that line is, but most can agree with that concept.
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:27 pm

drseti wrote:
MrMorden wrote: Those that don't fly airplanes, or travel by air, pay nothing for a service they don't use.


Ah, but the non-flying public does use the service, they just don't realize it. Have no airplanes fallen on your house lately? Thank the government-run ATC that, in fact, you don't even have to help pay for (the current ATC system is largely funded out of a trust fund composed of ticket tax and fuel tax revenues). Do you eat food? Wear clothes? Read books? All those things are available to you because of the ATC system that helps deliver them to your home, store, or library. If we privatize that system, we run a very real risk of the costs of food, clothing, books, and all other goods going up, as freight costs increase to cover the associated user fees.

Roads and bridges exist because federal, state, and municipal governments are willing to invest social overhead capital for the general wellbeing of all. Why should it not be so for runways, taxiways, radar facilities, tracons, and control towers?

I'm no more a fan of big government than anyone else here. But there are certain public safety activities that are best run by governments. A military run by a private corporation makes no sense to me. Neither does depending upon a private corporation to assure my safety in flight.


Of course people use airplanes for freight and such. But those costs are build into shipping and handling charges, nothing more need be done on that score. Those “users” don’t directly pay aviation taxes, they pay indirectly through costs the direct users charge them. That would not change under a private system.

Roads and bridges do not exist because of government taxation, that is simply the way they are currently financed. The word “turnpike” originates from a colonial term for a private road. The user would pay the owner a fee to “turn the pike” and open that road to the payor for travel. Bridges existed before there were civilizations. Don’t mistake the way it is for the way it must be.
Andy Walker
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby TimTaylor » Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:24 pm

Yes, we could privatize everything so that only the wealthy could afford to pay for use and everyone else can do without. Privatization of ATC would increase cost due to the added profit factor. Those added cost would be passed through in the form of fees and/or price of goods and would affect the price of everything we purchase. There is no free lunch. We're going to pay in the form of taxes or fees and cost of goods. Privatization will add the profit (and greed) factor to our cost.

Drive up I85 north of Atlanta and see how many old, beat up cars zoom past you in the pay-for-use lane. It's the priviledged who can afford to pay the fees that get to use those lanes while the lower income people get to use the bumper-to-bumper lanes.

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby Warmi » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:13 pm

We should privatize everything that can possibly be privatized - it is simple as that.
It baffles my mind that there can be even a dispute about that - not after 100 years of failed experiments trying to replace "profit and greed " with alternatives.
It is true that ( truly) privatized ATC would result in heavy shit of prioritizes towards serving airlines and large commercial entities and we may not like that but this is what a truly efficient allocation ( market driven) of resources would result in.
GA and associated industries are but statistical noise compared to commercial aviation ( in terms of goods being moved and people being serviced ) and it is essentially a hobby for a few ( mostly richer) people while being subsidized by everyone.
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