What Experts Are Saying

ELECTED OFFICIALS AND POLICY MAKERS

Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

Former U.S. Senator (D-ND) and Chairman of the Senate Aviation Panel

“Anyone arguing that ATC reform is about “privatizing” or creating a “profit-making” enterprise doesn’t understand the issue or doesn’t want you to understand it. The proposal is to establish a federally chartered, non-profit organization representing all stakeholders, including the federal government. The fees collected to run this system would reflect the costs to operate, maintain and improve it.”

Dorothy Robyn

Dorothy Robyn

Served as Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy and was a senior staff member of the National Economic Council (NEC)

"The FAA’s reliance on antiquated technology is the clearest symptom of an underlying problem with the way the air traffic control system is run. When the FAA undertook air traffic control modernization in 1981, it estimated that the work would cost $12 billion and take a decade to complete. Thirty-four years and $56 billion later, the FAA still has not been able to achieve large-scale modernization; most of that money has gone to replace and upgrade existing equipment, yielding only incremental improvements in capacity and safety. Although the FAA is more than a decade into to its effort to move to a next-generation, satellite-based system, NextGen is facing the same systemic problems that have plagued past modernization efforts."

James Burnley

James Burnley

Former Secretary of Transportation

“Moving the air traffic control function into a federally chartered non-profit, self-funding organization, moves it out of the uncertainty of future political battles over matters unrelated to the urgency of modernizing our air traffic control system.”

David Grizzle

David Grizzle

Former FAA Cheif Operations Officer

“Americans expect an air traffic control system that is properly staffed. The people who work for the FAA want to do it right, but a 1950's government structure will never deliver the performance Americans deserve. The FAA suffers from an unstable procurement system and an unpredictable federal funding structure that hampers the agency from improving technology incrementally so it’s always up to date, which also undermines the FAA's ability to train and maintain a qualified workforce. We should make the changes necessary to preserve America's leadership in global aviation. This can only happen with systemic ATC reform."

Norman Y. Mineta

Norman Y. Mineta

Former Secretary of Transportation

“Air traffic control reform, if done correctly, can make air travel more direct, more dependable, more efficient, and safer while substantially reducing flight delays, cancellations, and carbon emissions. These changes will benefit passengers, cargo carriers, general aviation and provide relief from the economic drag an underperforming system puts on our economy.”

Gov. John Engler

Gov. John Engler

President of the Business Roundtable (BRT)

"The FAA’s failure to keep its systems updated also means that the US is no longer the global leader in aviation. A modernized air traffic control system would advance America’s global commercial leadership by expanding export opportunities. Overseas sale of technologies developed and deployed in the United States would allow highly innovative U.S. aerospace companies to expand their global market and increase domestic employment."

Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation

Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Transportation

“In recent years, FAA has been confronted with several system failures that have impacted air travel, inconvenienced passengers, and cost airlines and businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue.”

INDUSTRY

Nicholas E. Calio

Nicholas E. Calio

President and CEO of Airlines for America

“Right now our system relies on World War II technology that keeps planes from flying as directly and efficiently as possible. If you have GPS in your car… you're using a more modern system than the ones that we use to fly our airplanes. That is a ridiculous place to be. We can't afford to rely on an outdated system like that that's hampered by a governing and funding structure at the FAA that inhibits innovation and the swift option of modern technology. It's … costing passengers and airlines about $30 billion a year in delays and cancellations.”

THIRD PARTIES, EXPERTS AND ACADEMICS

National Research Council

National Research Council

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Congress, and all National Airspace System stakeholders should reset expectations for the Next generation Air Transportation System. The FAA should explicitly qualify the early transformational vision in a way that clearly articulates the new realities.”

Byron Dorgan

Byron Dorgan

The ENO Center for Transportation

“A modern ATC system must be funded reliably so that safety, efficiency and modernization are not compromised. A system saddled with recurring funding uncertainty puts 5 percent of the U.S. economy, about 580,000 workers and nearly 27,000 flights a day at risk of disruption. Today’s ATC falls victim to government-wide budget reductions and shutdowns that have resulted in massive flight delays and stalled work on NextGen, a 21st century GPS satellite-based system that will improve air travel dramatically.”

Robert Poole

Robert Poole

The Reason Foundation

“Over the next 10 years, between one-half and two-thirds of air traffic controllers will retire and be replaced. This presents a one-time opportunity to recruit and train a different kind of workforce for what will become a much different kind of job. Here again, a self-supporting Air Traffic Organization (ATO) that is freed from civil service constraints and day-to-day political oversight would be much better positioned to redefine the controller’s job and make this large-scale personnel transition.”

Paul Rinaldi

Paul Rinaldi

President, National Air Traffic Controllers Association

“Air traffic controller staffing has been a concern for many years, but it has now reached a crisis level. I’ve said it repeatedly over the past few years: the status quo is unacceptable. Controller staffing has fallen nearly 10 percent since 2011, and the FAA has missed its hiring goals in each of the last five years.”

Brookings Institute

Brookings Institute

Dorothy Robyn

“Blue-ribbon commissions have detailed this structural mismatch between the nature of air traffic control and the way the federal government manages it. Because the FAA relies on appropriated funds, the agency has historically viewed Congress rather than aircraft operators as its customer. And because Congress holds the purse, FAA decisions on everything from investment to facilities are fair game for political interference. As one example, Members opposed to the loss of jobs in their district have long blocked large-scale consolidation of the FAA’s aging and inefficient facilities—a step that would save hundreds of millions of dollars a year.”

Marc Scribner

Marc Scribner

Competitive Enterprise Institute

“Until Congress has the courage to radically reform the way civil airspace is managed, the United States will continue to waste time and money entering aviation's next generation -- and likely behind the rest of the developed world.”

Pete Sepp

Pete Sepp

National Taxpayers Union

“Embracing Rep. Bill Shuster’s (R-PA) recent call for restructuring air traffic control into a user-financed model, leaving the FAA with a regulatory oversight role and vesting the actual operation of the system in a new private entity. This approach has successfully delivered better service at more predictable costs in numerous countries.”

Christopher Versace

Christopher Versace

Forbes

“In the coming months, Congress is expected to begin debating legislation titled the “Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Authorization” bill, which offers an opportunity to change federal aviation tax policy. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Schuster (R-Pa.) could free market forces in the aviation travel industry by pushing reform of the aviation tax system. Depending on the outcome of the FAA bill, we could have a tax system that does not incentivize the airlines to hike ancillary fees, like your bag and flight change fees, but would still allow for airport upgrades and improvements.”

Jeff Wasden

Jeff Wasden

The Denver Post

“Denver International Airport is the fifth-busiest commercial airport in the United States, with 1,550 daily flights to more than 180 countries. However, getting in and out of Colorado could be made safer and more efficient with proposed legislation that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and specifically modernize our nation's astonishingly outdated air traffic control (ATC) system.”

TELL CONGRESS THAT YOU’RE READY FOR #MODERNSKIES!