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U.S. Senate Misses Opportunity to Provide Critical Staffing and Technology Improvements to Air Traffic Control Operations

WASHINGTON, DC – The Coalition for Modern Skies issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate’s failure to address our nation’s antiquated air traffic control operations in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation:

“The U.S. Senate has missed a historic opportunity to bring about critically important changes to our nation’s air traffic control operations. The more than 2 million passengers who fly through our skies every day deserve better than the unnecessary delays and $30 billion in lost productivity that result from the status quo.

“Currently, controllers route flights using antiquated ground-based radar that is less technically advanced than the smart phones in our pockets. Experts in air traffic control agree: Congress needs to act now to usher in transformational reforms before we reach a critical point. The Federal Aviation Administration and controllers do an incredible job keeping our skies the safest in the world. But despite the FAA’s best effort, modernizing air traffic control has stalled because of bureaucratic processes, government slowdowns and political games that have no place in our skies.

“The Coalition for Modern Skies strongly urges Congress to support air travelers and the U.S. economy by working to include vital air traffic control reforms as they continue their work on the FAA Reauthorization bill. Accomplishing these reforms will allow the United States to reclaim leadership in the skies.”

 
ATC REFORM WILL BRING ABOUT:

Enhanced Safety: Safety is priority number one. Implementation of available, state-of-the art technology will provide an additional, never-before-realized margin of safety.

Modern Technology: ATC currently uses antiquated, ground-based radar technology. These outdated technologies result in unnecessarily long flight times and indirect routes, which adds time and cost and also uses more fuel.

Reliable Funding: The FAA has been hampered by budget constraints that have resulted in sequester and furloughs of air traffic controllers. Not knowing the budget from one year to the next prevents FAA executives from delivering a meaningful capital improvement plan, implementing NextGen and from meeting the need to hire additional air traffic controllers.

Accountable Governance: A self-sustaining ATC system, with budget and management independence from the federal government, significantly decreases the potential for political games, arbitrary budget decisions, furloughs and shutdowns. Independent ATC board members would be prohibited from having any financial employment ties to stakeholders.