Senate Passes FAA Bill Enabling Air Traffic Control Modernization
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, congratulated Chairman Jay Rockefeller, Ranking Member Kay Bailey Hutchison and the Senate for passage of the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act (S.223), which will help create jobs and modernize the air traffic control system. A modernized air traffic management system will improve operational efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and emissions, and lower airline operating costs.
The Senate FAA legislation would help convert the nation’s air-traffic system to satellite-based technology from ground-based radars by ensuring that the first $500 million in aviation taxes collected be reserved for modernization.
The bill would require the FAA to implement satellite-based procedures, which let airlines fly more direct routes in and out of landing strips, at the busiest 35 airports by 2014 and for the national airspace system by 2018.
The bill would also provide an additional $73 million in Essential Air Service (EAS) funding, which will improve access to air travel at regional airports. EAS helps provide air service to underserved rural communities.
“This bill moves the United States toward our goal of enabling a safe, sustainable and profitable airline industry that provides good value to customers and promotes global competitiveness,” said ATA President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We applaud the leadership and significant work to pass a bill that reflects a continued commitment to safety and modernization of the air traffic control system by requiring that FAA establish and track performance metrics.” For more information, visit www.airlines.org.