Every decade or so, sometimes more often, someone or some organization proposes “privatizing” the U.S. air traffic control system. In 1985 it was the Air Transport Association (ATA), now renamed Airlines for America, which released a study calling for a self-supporting federal ATC corporation.
Prominent aviation industry figures fear that a list of priorities developed to keep the NextGen ATC modernization effort on track during a time of funding pressure and ongoing “sequestration” budget cuts in the U.S. could undermine the ambitious, two-decade effort.
An August 27 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) concludes that none of the 49 suggestions related to the hiring and training of new air traffic controllers outlined in the FAA’s independent review panel two years ago have been implemented.
FAA Air Traffic Organization COO David Grizzle plans to step down from his position in December, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca). “Throughout [his] tenure at the ATO, we worked together to strengthen the Natca-FAA collaborative relationship. That has resulted in many successes, from modernization to labor relations, which have helped continue to make our National Airspace System the world’s safest and most efficient,” said Natca president Paul Rinaldi. “We thank David for his contributions.”
While many people breathed a sigh of relief when Congress pulled the nation back from the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the beginning of the new year, most of those who were following the contretemps didn’t realize it was mainly political theater.
“While we are pleased Congress made some headway on tax elements to avert the fiscal cliff, we are concerned that they could not agree to a long-term solution to fix a problem no serious person wants: sequestration,” said Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey.
The U.S. aerospace industry’s sales tally grew by 3.4 percent this year, to $218 billion, led by a strong performance in the civil sector, according to preliminary estimates released by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) on December 5. The figure marks the industry’s ninth consecutive year of growth.
Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey said she jumped out of her chair this week when she heard President Obama say, during the final televised debate between U.S. presidential candidates, that sequestration “will not happen.” She said that the AIA is calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to start
The U.S. aviation system would suffer a “devastating” hit if the process of automatic federal budget cuts known as “sequestration” takes effect in January, according to industry leaders. An Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) study released yesterday estimates that 132,000 aviation jobs would be lost in the first year as a result of sequestration, which requires $500 billion in federal non-defense spending cuts over the next decade.
Congressman Tom Petri (R-Wisc.), chairman of the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on aviation (part of its Transportation and Infrastructure Committee), said the FAA’s Contract Tower Program is cost-effective, The Hill reported on July 18. Petri supported his stance with a recent DOT
Air traffic controllers traditionally watch out for each other as a group, knowing full well that few people outside towers and radar rooms truly understand the daily pressures of keeping airplanes safely separated. But a report last week shows there just might be a kink in that armor of solidarity.
- Page 1