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Denver Post: Separate Air Traffic Control from the FAA

The Denver Post editorial board weighed in to support reforms to air traffic control. Headlined “The Remedy for Aviation Delays,” the board says:

“Sometimes the truly important stuff gets overlooked in the daily focus on election-year follies. Today’s example: a plan that backers say could transform the U.S. air traffic-control system and endow it with advanced 21st century technology.

… “It’s not that the present system is truly broken. Flying remains a remarkably safe activity, and has been getting safer through the decades based on the number of fatalities per miles traveled. But the crush of growing air travel is presenting a huge challenge to the system, such that delays have become a regular part of flying. A major reason is that radar prevents the system from being as efficient as it should be; radar doesn’t update as quickly as newer technologies, for example. And yet after a decade of effort by the FAA to modernize air-traffic control through the expenditure of billions of dollars, the system remains seriously outdated.”

Outdated equipment and an inability on the part of the government to manage a billion-dollar high-tech project is keeping us from modernizing our air navigation operations. The current FAA authorization expires at the end of the month, making it timely and important for Congress to act on these important reforms. Even more importantly, the time is now for our nation’s archaic air traffic control system to be brought into the 21st Century, while reducing delays and making air travel even safer.

The Denver Post follows similar editorials from the Washington Post and USA Today supporting air traffic control reforms. The longer it takes the U.S. to enact these transformational reforms, the further we will fall behind. The closing words of the Denver Post’s editorial should be heeded:

“Most other advanced countries already separate air-traffic control from the regulation of safety. The U.S. would do well to follow suit.”

Click here to read the full op-ed.