The Denver Post: A New Way to Control Airline Traffic

Posted by #ModernSkies

It’s a good bet that, of the 4.4. million passengers who traveled through Denver International Airport in December 2014, very few of them spent any time thinking about air traffic control operations. That’s as it should be, wrote Jeff Wasden, president of the Colorado Business Roundtable, in a recent op-ed that published in the Denver Post. But, Wasden also makes the excellent point that travelers likely don’t realize that ATC functions are performed on World War II-era equipment. Here’s what he says:

“Congressional budget battles have made it difficult for the agency to help move the air traffic control system into the 21st century. Even when well-funded, the beleaguered FAA is stuck with an archaic procurement system. For example, upgrades to air traffic control systems that are scheduled for completion in the coming year were designed 18 years ago. What other technology driven enterprise updates to equipment from the heyday of Windows 95?”

There’s a solution, though, that will bring us into the current century. More from Wasden:

“We can put the air traffic control system under new management, a not-for-profit organization that is independent of the federal government. Under this proposal, the FAA would retain safety and regulatory oversight while ATC services would be performed by an independent organization funded through transparent user fees based on actual operating costs. Financing would go toward priorities that deliver results for the flying public, not pet political projects. No longer could budget fights in Washington, D.C., threaten to shut down or reduce air traffic control services across the country.

“The U.S. air traffic control network must be modernized to better handle a growing volume of flights. How many of us have faced airport delays? Using the best current technologies, many of these delays could be reduced or eliminated, while creating efficiencies that allow investment in additional safety measures.”

Here’s the link to the full piece. It’s a good read that’s worth your time.