Air traffic control modernization is needed, and AOPA President Craig Fuller offered a series of short-term recommendations to keep the process moving in a statement submitted to the House Aviation Subcommittee for a March 18 hearing on NextGen.
“AOPA members have a vested interest and will be affected by the FAA actions on air traffic control modernization; whether it is the ground system or equipment installed in our members’ aircraft,” Fuller said.
Fuller noted that, although the aviation industry is experiencing a downturn along with the rest of the economy, the time is right to prepare for the turnaround by investing in air traffic control modernization and airport infrastructure.
Specifically, AOPA asked the subcommittee to require the FAA to develop a five-year plan that would include creating 500 precision WAAS ( Wide Area Augmentation System) approaches each year, transforming low-altitude en-route airspace to take advantage of GPS point-to-point navigation capabilities, and incentivizing the general aviation community to adopt ADS-B technology by reducing costs and increasing GA access to services.
Fuller also emphasized the importance of including airport funding as Congress outlines legislative initiatives for the aviation system of the future.
“Not only are community airports a vital piece of the air transportation system, they can drive the economy by directly creating jobs as well as generating opportunities for economic growth,” Fuller said, adding that federal airport funding must be maintained.