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Full question and answer between Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sam Jewell at a town hall on Aug. 19, 2017

McCaskill: “This is from Sam Jewell, ‘Air traffic system—privatize, yes or no?’ You know, I say no right now. But I tell you what, I think the proposal is putting pressure on the FAA to get at this digital system. We’ve given them a lot of money, they’ve had a lot of time and they’ve made no progress. I assume it’s you because you’ve got ‘aviation’ on your shirt. … And I understand general aviation is apoplectic about this, because they’re assuming the big guys would control it take over and it would become very expensive for you. You would get relegated, and if you ever try to go in a big airport, you’d go so far to the end of the line you’d run out of fuel. So I am very upset that we are the only nation left in the world that is a developed nation that is still operating with a radar system that is so out of date. And it does provide some safety issues in terms of how far behind we are. So if nothing else I think this pressure being brought to bear on privatization hopefully will get the lead out at the FAA and they’ll begin to make real progress on the next generation of radar. … But I understand general aviation is monolithic in its opposition to it. But it’s a problem we can’t seem to get a handle on.”

Jewell: “Well when you go to any other country, you know the cost of flying — I just had a friend who went home to Greece and was trying to fly around over there, it costs like $500 just to go from one little city to the next, and you have to have credit cards on file for them to charge your account. You know, that’s one thing the United States has that nobody else has, is the freedom to fly around and be affordable where a normal person can afford it."

McCaskill: "Will you remind them when they come after me about my husband’s plane? That normal people can afford it?" (Laughter) “Yeah, but I understand the fear, and I understand the uncertainty, but I remain committed to trying to look at any solution we can find to get our stuff updated, but not at the expense of general aviation.”