A4A chief urges action on AIRR legislation

A US airline industry boss has urged legislators to take swift action on transforming the US Air Traffic Organization.

Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation for the leading US airlines, today testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee regarding the nation’s airline industry’s support for Congress to deliver a world-class Air Traffic Control (ATC) system.

In his testimony, Calio noted that the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act represents the most significant reforms to the national airspace system in decades. Calio urged all members of the committee and all stakeholders to carefully examine how critical this transformational ATC reform is to the future of the US economy, and to the travelling and shipping public who depend on safe, efficient and reliable air transportation.

“US airlines connect the world like no other industry can and this legislation marks a historic step toward making our Air Traffic Control system the best it can be,” said Calio. “Delivering a more efficient system with proper governance, funding and accountability will bolster our nation’s first-rate safety record and make flying better – and at no additional cost to travellers. We thank the committee for its strong, bipartisan commitment to making our national airspace even safer and more efficient, and urge passage of the AIRR Act.”

A4A supports transforming the nation’s Air Traffic Organization system into to a not-for-profit, self-funded, independent organisation governed by a board representing all major stakeholders, including the federal government, and protecting the public interest. It said the AIRR Act will result in more choices, more direct trips, lower fuel consumption, reduced emissions and – importantly – fewer flight delays for the travelling public.

Calio also noted that need for ATC reform has been well documented over the past 30 years, pointing to scores of Congressional hearings, Inspector General and Government Accountability Office reports, studies by at least four presidentially appointed non-partisan commissions and numerous independent private sector experts. He said scores of third-party experts have found that the Federal Aviation Administration has not met expectations in delivering the state-of-the-art ATC system the US needs to remain at the forefront of modern aviation technology and innovation.

“For decades, while the US has talked about the need for ATC reform, 60 other countries around the world have acted, and now our nation must do the same if we want to reclaim our role as a global leader,” said Calio. “We can no longer afford to embrace a status quo that has not worked, is not working and is not capable of supporting such a critical driver of our economy in the future.”

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