National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and CEO Thomas Hendricks recently released a statement concerning the National Research Council’s (NRC) paper reviewing the efforts to fully modernize the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) air traffic control.
“When it comes to the challenges faced by NextGen, some in the aviation community are unfortunately suffering from a bad case of “group think” that pillories both the institution of the FAA and its thousands of highly skilled and dedicated employees,” Hendricks said. “In fact, there is significant work being done at FAA, work that we risk throwing away by addressing reasonable concerns with potentially disruptive solutions.”
While Hendricks clarified the status quo is not a suitable alternative, he noted change in any established bureaucracy can be extremely difficult.
"There are numerous examples of where the injection of additional private sector practices has and would continue to greatly improve the FAA’s operating structure and performance," Hendricks said. "However, it appears almost deliberately unnoticed by some that the FAA is bringing online highly advanced and improving technologies. Good changes to our air traffic system are underway and we need to keep the pressure on for more and faster change.”
Hendricks also warned against basing decisions upon outdated, unrealistic expectations.
“While modernizing and adapting for future requirements is an absolute must, let’s ensure we’re not using more than decade-old assumptions and expectations as a pretense for potentially disruptive changes to the world’s best and safest air traffic control system,” he said.