US airlines campaign for ATC upgrade

Modernising the nation’s 1950s-era air traffic control system will be one of the chief campaigning points of a comprehensive national airline policy launched today by US airline industry group Airlines for America (A4A).
The policy will underline the integral role the domestic airline industry plays in connecting people and goods globally, spurs economic growth and creates more high-paying  jobs.
“A national airline policy is good for passengers and shippers, businesses and our economy because it will take a holistic look at what impedes the industry from competing globally, including high taxes, excessive regulation, infrastructure challenges and volatile fuel prices,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.
“The US airline industry safely and efficiently transports two million customers and 50,000 tons of cargo every day, and is a critical driver of the US economy, creating $1 trillion in economic activity and 10 million jobs. We can do even more in an environment that recognises the airlines as a national asset.”
Calio, along with airline CEOs, are unveiling the campaign on Capitol Hill this week and continuing to brief legislators on the benefits of a comprehensive policy.
The five priorities of the National Airline Policy include:

  • Reduce Taxes: Air travel is taxed at a federal rate that exceeds those on alcohol and tobacco, products that are taxed to discourage use. A National Airline Policy would help keep ticket prices affordable.
  • Reform Regulatory Burden: Airlines are among the most highly regulated deregulated industries. A National Airline Policy would help reform regulations that add unnecessary costs and do not improve safety or the customer experience.
  • Modernise Air Traffic System: The air traffic control system dates back to the 1950s. With the right policies and procedures in place, U.S. airlines could reduce flight delays, missed connections and cancellations while lowering fuel burn and related emissions.
  • Compete Globally: U.S. airlines are increasingly competing with foreign carriers that have more favorable tax and regulatory environments. A National Airline Policy would help ensure U.S. carriers can compete and maintain air service to smaller communities and invest in new aircraft.
  • Stabilise Energy Prices: Fuel is the largest expense for airlines, and prices are high and volatile. A National Airline Policy would support a balanced and comprehensive national energy policy.

Throughout 2013, A4A will be building a coalition of state and local organisations, businesses and others to support the priorities of the policy.