Many countries, including Australia, Britain and Canada, have privatised air-traffic services or turned them into state-owned firms.
Nav Canada, a non-profit firm that has long managed Canadian airspace, has costs per flight hour of $340 compared with the FAA's $450.
Replacing old radar-based methods with accurate satellite navigation and better digital communications is a particular priority.
Aircraft using satellite navigation can be safely spaced more closely together, which permits many more planes to be in the air at the same time.
Digital systems also provide data links to control centres and to other planes by regularly broadcasting an aircraft's identification sign, its position and course.
This would allow “free routing”, which means pilots can fly directly to a destination, rather than follow established airways, which often zigzag around.
The president's proposal might even speed a move towards “virtual” control towers in low-rise buildings, which can replace towers physically located at airports.
The virtual versions are fed live video from airfield cameras.
Proponents argue that they are both safer and around 30% cheaper to operate.
Virtual towers can look after more than one airport.
One in Norway is set to supervise 32 airports, some of them in remote areas.
The European Union reckons such innovations will allow three times as many flights to be handled in the region and save airlines some 9bn euro ($10bn) a year.
It also, optimistically perhaps, predicts that on average aircraft will land within one minute of their scheduled arrival time.
That would count as a miraculous improvement for anyone, let alone America's weary airport warriors.
Mr Trump, though, may struggle to get the proposal through Congress.
A similar plan got stuck last year, despite being backed by most airlines and the air-traffic controllers' union.
At least the president can dodge the queues: Air Force One flights get special clearance.