ICYMI: In Your Opinion: We must modernize our air-traffic-control system
By Rep. John Faso
In his recent column, Kris Craig perpetuates many inaccuracies regarding congressional efforts to modernize our Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.
As a member of the House Transportation Committee I have been working first-hand with aviation industry leaders to craft the best possible plan to modernize our antiquated ATC system. While our current system is safe, it utilizes outmoded technology, which places us far behind other nations around the world.
The federal government has been notoriously slow at initiating technology updates that would bring our ATC into the 21st century. Over 20 years ago, Canada led the way in creating a more nimble, private-sector organization charged with developing and implementing the transformation of our nation’s legacy air-traffic-control system. This change, which is supported by most major American airlines and pilot unions, flight attendants, and air traffic controllers, would guarantee consistent funding for next generation (NextGen) air transportation safety systems.
I recently traveled to Ottawa with congressional colleagues to assess the progress of air-traffic-control operations in Canada, where its private Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) has been efficiently and safely moving 12 million aircraft every year since 1996. This model constantly upgrades and improves ATC technology and isn’t subject to onerous government procurement rules. It’s clear that this system works far better than its U.S. counterpart.
Additionally, ATC modernization would prove to be a wise environmental investment. Modern ATC means planes fly more direct routes guided by satellite based communications technology. Direct routes save fuel — an estimated 1.4 billion fewer gallons since 1997 — and reduced greenhouse gas emissions lessen harmful CO2 emissions.
Passengers will benefit from modernized ATC with fewer delays and an even safer airline experience. I fully support these changes and look forward to having these changes enacted into law.
Faso represents the 19th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.For more information on the 21st Century AIRR Act please go here.