GWINN — President Donald Trump revealed a proposal yesterday to modernize the Federal Aviation Administration, which involves privatizing the agency’s air traffic control function.
Under the new proposal, the FAA would no longer be responsible for providing air traffic services and instead, it would move to a private, nonprofit organization. According to the Washington Post, this plan, if enacted, will span the course of three years and remove 30,000 FAA employees off the federal payroll.
Locally, Sawyer International Airport already functions on a contract control tower, which allows private contractors to work directly with the FAA. The new system would implement user fees and Airport Manager Duane DuRay said they are worried about the effect it will have on the general aviation community.
“That is one of the areas administration would be mirroring other countries and how they operate privatized control towers,” said DuRay. “Canada is a prime example. We would just be concerned that rural America may lose some aspect of our aviation industry if it is another tax on the general aviation pilot.”
Sawyer International is one of 253 airports around the country that function this way. Though the fees raise concerns, DuRay said no job loss is anticipated for the airport under the proposed plan.