A4A calls for air traffic control system reform and commends bipartisan efforts to work toward an FAA reauthorization that would return the U.S. to its position as the world’s aviation leader
WASHINGTON, April 3, 2014 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, joined member executives from American Airlines Group, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., Delta Air Lines, Federal Express Corporation, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines today to identify the major challenges facing the industry at the Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 13th Annual Aviation Summit, entitled, “Navigating the True Costs of Flying,” in Washington, D.C.
In his keynote address, President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio examined the costs and benefits of commercial aviation and called for transformational change and leadership within government and the airline industry to push toward a holistic National Airline Policy which expedites the implementation of NextGen, reforms an outdated air traffic control system and rationalizes the rising federal tax and regulatory burdens.
“Given the way Congress has moved from crisis to crisis on must-do financial legislation, a comprehensive policy push like the establishment of a holistic National Airline Policy needs an action-forcing event,” said Calio. “We believe the next FAA Reauthorization bill can be such an event. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and their counterparts Reps. Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Rick Larsen (D-WA) have banded together and are reaching out to all stakeholders to work toward an FAA Reauthorization bill that is in their words, transformational — that’s just the kind of leadership, aspiration and vision we need to be the world leader within our industry once again.”
Calio highlighted the need to reform the air traffic control system and lack of progress in implementing NextGen, a 21st century, satellite-based system, which airlines have already invested hundreds of millions in yet are still waiting to see put to use for airline customers.
“Air traffic control reform can provide a broad-based approach to changing the governance, financing and delivery of service to travelers and suppliers,” said Calio. “Putting a new framework in place would be a long-overdue first step toward creating a system that is not dependent on an annual funding cycle that furloughs our air traffic controllers and leads to consistent delays.”
Calio noted this would be a critical step in correcting the program management and execution issues which have impeded progress to date, crippling the U.S. airline industry’s global competitiveness and progress.
“So, with great hope, onward toward transformational change in our industry,” said Calio.
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.4 million passengers and more than 58,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor, Congress, the Administration and other groups to improve aviation for the traveling and shipping public.