Letter to the Editor: Don’t Halt Air Traffic Progress
September 27, 2017
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  • Michael Turnipseed’s Sept. 25 op-ed, “Let’s bring air traffic control system into 21st century,” asserts that the U.S. national airspace system is becoming less efficient with outdated technology causing delays and disruptions. As the largest aviation organization in the world, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association fully supports modernization but we don’t have to give away our skies to the airlines to accomplish that.

    Turnipseed argues that switching our air traffic control system to a federally chartered nonprofit corporation with members representing a variety of entities would allow for significant improvements. However, HR 2997 creates no incentives for improvement and allows for no competition. The proposed legislation would allow the airlines and their interests to dominate the new organization’s board. Do you want the folks who charged you $7 billion in fees last year just to bring your suitcase with you and who continue to shrink your seat size also in charge of the nation’s air traffic system?

    Technology to improve the system is already well in effect and saving the airlines millions of dollars, proven by a recent Government Accountability Office report. ATC technology upgrades are on budget and already increasing efficiency. It is the airlines that are behind in investing in cockpit technology to take advantage of the capabilities ATC is already offering.

    Let’s continue to modernize the current system, not halt progress and give away publicly funded assets, a measure that GAO reports would add nearly $100 billion to our national deficit.

    Mark Baker, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, Frederick, Md.