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Sat, Mar 11, 2017

Alaska Airlines CEO Expresses Support For ATC Privatization

Among Those To Testify At Congressional Hearing Wednesday

In testimony before the House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee Wednesday, Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said that ATC needs to be privatized and "modernized" to deal with delays and congestion at major airports.

"Alaska Airlines wants to see the United States on a path to deal with these near and long-term infrastructure issues and flourish as the world leader in next generation airspace management," Tilden said in his prepared remarks for the subcommittee.

While we understand ATC reform may be a topic of a future hearing, and we know there are numerous viewpoints across the aviation spectrum, we do want to go on record with our belief that ATC reform, including the separation of ATC operations from the FAA and into a not-for-profit, non-government corporation – as many other industrialized countries have done - is needed in order to put our country on the path of true aviation infrastructure improvement."

While Tilden praised the nation's Air Traffic Controllers as being "highly-talented professionals" who guide aircraft through the safest airspace system in the world, "under the current governance and funding system, we run a real risk that demand for airspace is going to rise at a rate that is more rapid than our rate of technological innovation, worsening delays," he said. "Therein lies the specific, big opportunity: We need to modernize the system to connect the en-route navigation structure with the approach phase of the flight using today’s technology."

While President Donald Trump has hinted that he favors privatization of ATC, and Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster(R-PA) has long been a proponent of the idea, the U.S. Senate has been decidedly cool to privatization of ATC, and most business and general aviation trade associations strongly oppose the idea.

(Image from hearing video)

FMI: http://transportation.house.gov, www.alaskaair.com

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