Path to 21st Century Air Traffic Control Infrastructure Reflected in White House Budget

Published on : Thursday, March 16, 2017

A4AAirlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today applauded the Trump Administration’s visionary leadership in recognizing the need to modernize our air traffic control (ATC) infrastructure. The President’s 2018 Budget (page 35):


“Initiates a multi-year reauthorization proposal to shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization, making the system more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety. This would benefit the flying public and taxpayers overall.”


“This is a bold step that will lead to the governance and funding reforms needed to move our air traffic control infrastructure into the 21st century,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Our system is safe, but it is outdated and not as efficient as it should – or could – be. We need to stop accepting pockets of progress and put in place a modernized system that better serves the traveling and shipping public.”


A4A has consistently advocated for reforming our nation’s ATC system by separating the service provider function from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and putting it under an independent, not-for-profit entity funded by system users. This approach gets politics out of the way by guaranteeing a predictable and reliable funding stream that allows for long-term capital improvements that will be used to modernize the ATC system. It also enables the FAA to focus on what it does best: regulate safety.


Unnecessary flight delays that are often the result of outdated, WWII-era technology and procedures cost the United States and traveling public an estimated $25 billion in 2016 alone. The benefits of a modernized ATC infrastructure include: enhanced safety, reduced delays, fuel savings, reduced emissions, increased capacity and greater operational efficiency. In addition, a secure, predictable funding stream will remove external constraints that have led to the FAA routinely missing its air traffic controller hiring goals.


A January 2017 survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs (commissioned by A4A) found that nearly eight in 10 Americans support modernizing ATC to ensure the system can keep pace with modernization efforts as long as the FAA retains oversight of safety.

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