The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should accelerate its timetable for implementing new and more efficient air traffic procedures, a key pillar of a needed National Airline Policy, says the Air Transport Association of America, Inc. (ATA), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines.
“Near-term FAA action will help government focus on priorities that can provide immediate economic – and importantly – customer-service benefits,” said ATA President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio in a speech to the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit.
“The airline industry faces daunting levels of taxation and regulation, and not addressing these matters quickly stifles our ability to further drive economic growth and puts us at greater risk to foreign competition," Calio said.
As a first step toward executing a National Airline Policy, the ATA called on the Obama administration and the FAA to focus its resources on expediting the most cost-beneficial elements of NextGen, including performance-based procedures. Other ATA priorities include:
• An accelerated one-year implementation schedule for the FAA Navigation Procedures Project (NAV Lean)
• Streamlining the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review processes to expedite the development and implementation of Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) and other environmentally beneficial and fuel-saving NextGen procedures
• Development of metrics to gauge the outcome and performance of the government’s implementation of NextGen capabilities and procedures
“We are at an inflection point,” Calio said. “We can do what we have always done and get the same results. Or, we can do something different, to a different outcome, one that benefits our customers, our employees, and yes, even our shareholders. One that ensures we can be globally competitive and create, maintain and grow American jobs.”
ATA noted that publicly held U.S. passenger airlines posted a $290 million net loss for the first half of 2011. Operating revenues for the same period were $8.4 billion higher compared to 2010, but expenses climbed $9.7 billion.
“This industry cannot continue to lose billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and fly people from one place to another for less than it costs to get them there,” Calio said.