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Air Transport World Contributor Calls Sully's ATC Statements 'Misleading'

Criticizes Sullenberger For Spreading A 'Shameful Lie'

The Alliance For Aviation Across America (AAAA) has recently produced two videos featuring Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger speaking out against ATC privatization. Writing for Air Transport World, contributor Karen Walker calls the videos "misleading".

"Aside from misrepresenting the issue, Sullenberger accuses US airlines of “putting cost reduction ahead of safety”; that’s a shameful lie." Walker writes.

Sullenberger's position on the issue "over-simplifies and misconstrues what is being attempted: to place the US ATM system under the governance of a private, nonprofit entity with a board made up of airlines, unions, airports and federal officials. FAA would still oversee the organization, but it would be free of the annual budget constraints and uncertainties that currently prevent long-term investment in technologies that would greatly increase the efficiencies and capacity of the US ATM system," Walker says. "Without those investments and long-term planning, the system will become gridlocked. Indeed, FAA reauthorization is once again under threat this year and the agency could see a partial shutdown.

"As a former pilot at a major airline, Sullenberger is fully aware of the congestion and inefficiencies that the US ATM system suffers. He also knows that no airline would want or permit a less safe air traffic control system. Yet here he is, using his “hero” status to imply that airlines “who continue to make your airline seats smaller” are willing to endanger the air traffic control system.

"That’s complete nonsense. New technologies would make the ATM system safer. Secure, long-term funding would eliminate shutdowns and create a 21st century-worthy system.The type of organization the US is looking to create would mirror those established in places such as Canada, the UK and New Zealand, which all operate far more efficiently, with greater technology and at least as safely as the US."

Walker says that airlines will not run the system, and it will not be "privatized." She said Sullenberger should not use his celebrity status to "mislead people who are not as familiar with the commercial aviation system as he is, but who trust his word."

ANN E-I-C Note: In looking over the Walker piece... we do see quite a bit of misleading prose... but on the part of the Author, not on the part of Captain Sullenberger. One wonders how much pressure Ms. Walker was under to support her advertisers and publication supporters for her to cast such aspersions on Sullenberger... whose ACTUAL experience in the system is indisputable. We find the ATW piece to be disappointing, misleading and below the standards we thought that publication adhered to. -- Jim Campbell, ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief

(Image from file)

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