In House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing testimony, A4A CEO says travelers, shippers and U.S. economy have everything to gain from historic ATC reform
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2016 – Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, today testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee regarding the U.S. airline industry’s support for Congress to deliver the world-class Air Traffic Control (ATC) system that the traveling and shipping public deserves.
In his testimony, Calio noted that the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act represents the most significant reforms to our national air space system in decades. Calio urged all members of the committee and all stakeholders to carefully examine how critical this transformational ATC reform is to the future of our economy, and to the traveling and shipping public who depend on safe, efficient and reliable air transportation in their daily lives.
“U.S. airlines connect the world like no other industry can and this legislation marks a historic step toward making our Air Traffic Control system the best it can be,” said Calio. “Delivering a more efficient system with proper governance, funding and accountability will bolster our nation’s first-rate safety record and make flying better – and at no additional cost to travelers. We thank the committee for its strong, bipartisan commitment to making our national airspace even safer and more efficient, and urge passage of the AIRR Act.”
A4A supports transforming our nation’s Air Traffic Organization system into to a not-for-profit, self-funded, independent organization governed by a board representing all major stakeholders, including the federal government, and protecting the public interest. The AIRR Act will result in more choices, more direct trips, lower fuel consumption, reduced emissions and – importantly – fewer flight delays for the traveling public.
Calio also noted that need for ATC reform has been well documented over the past 30 years, pointing to scores of Congressional hearings, Inspector General and Government Accountability Office reports, studies by at least four presidentially appointed non-partisan commissions and numerous independent private sector experts. Scores of third-party experts have found that the Federal Aviation Administration has not met expectations in delivering the state-of-the-art ATC system the U.S. needs to remain at the forefront of modern aviation technology and innovation.
“For decades, while the U.S. has talked about the need for ATC reform, 60 other countries around the world have acted, and now our nation must do the same if we want to reclaim our role as a global leader,” said Calio. “We can no longer afford to embrace a status quo that has not worked, is not working and is not capable of supporting such a critical driver of our economy in the future.”
Annually, commercial aviation helps drive $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. U.S. airlines fly 2.3 million passengers and more than 55,000 tons of cargo each day. Airlines for America (A4A) advocates on behalf of the American airline industry as a model of safety, customer service and environmental responsibility and as the indispensable network that drives our nation’s economy and global competitiveness.
A4A works collaboratively with the airlines, labor groups, Congress and the Administration to improve air travel for everyone.