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Smizek and ATC Reform

From Jeff:

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Fighting for ATC Reform in Washington

Posted May 19, 2015

Today I testified in front of the Senate Commerce Committee about the important topic of air traffic control (ATC) reform. I was there not only to represent the men and women of United, but also as the chairman of the board of Airlines for America (A4A), our trade organization. Congress will pass a reauthorization of the FAA later this year, and they are considering the pros and cons of moving the air traffic organization out of government and into a professionally managed, more efficient non-profit corporation, similar to the highly successful NAV CANADA organization.

We all work very hard to deliver safe and reliable transportation to our customers, but our efforts here in the United States are hampered by our reliance upon a World War II-era, radar-based system that – while safe – is inefficient and delay-ridden. The U.S. air traffic control system needs complete transformation in order to modernize to meet the demands of the future, and the time for that transformation is now.

Numerous other countries have succeeded in modernizing their air traffic control systems, and A4A has done a substantial amount of rigorous, fact-based research surveying best practices around the globe. What A4A’s research has found, and what I told the Senate committee today, is that a successfully transformed ATC system should have the following:

  • Separation of the ATC operations and ATC safety regulation functions;
  • A non-profit corporation operating the ATC system, with independent, multi-stakeholder board governance free from political influence over decision-making;
  • A professional, effective management team of the ATC provider, incentivized to pursue efficiencies without the constraints imposed on government agencies that hamper their ability to manage more nimbly and effectively;
  • A fair self-funding user fee model based on the cost of ATC services, free from the start and stop budget constraints that have resulted in sequester and furloughs of air traffic controllers, allowing for access to capital markets and a steady, predictable, reliable stream of funding that isn’t subject to governmental budgetary constraints;
  • The ability to manage assets and capital investments in a way that allows far greater speed to market of technological modernization; and,
  • Transparency in user fees so that users and their customers alike know what they are paying, allowing users full ability to recover costs.

I also told the committee that the total user fee and tax burden faced by commercial air carriers today (who are the primary and disproportionate funders of today’s system) must not get any higher under a transformed ATC system.
Nobody knows better than you do about the impact of today’s inefficient ATC system on our operation, and I want to thank all of you for doing your best to keep our customers flying safely to their destinations despite this challenge.

The inefficiencies, delays and costs of the current ATC system will only grow over time, so there is no better time to transform than now. We are capable of rising to this challenge, as have many other countries before us. The result would be a modernized U.S. air navigation service provider that will better deliver the benefits that all of you, our passengers, and this great nation, expect and deserve.


Don’t think I like this idea. Pretty sure it would kill general aviation. Airlines, with a powerful lobby, would advocate all flights cost the same, whether a 747 or C-150.

And, private organizations of themselves don’t necessarily mean they are more efficient or effective.

http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/ual-cal-merger/88179-smizek-atc-reform.html

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Smizek and ATC Reform

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Fighting for ATC Reform [...]

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From Jeff:

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Fighting for ATC Reform [...]



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