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Airlines Fight Aviation Safety Measures?

by John M. White |

For some time now the FAA has been working on their NextGen program to upgrade, update and improve the National Airspace System in the United States. This would be accomplished by using 21st century technologies to make sure that safety, system capacity and the environment are adequately protected. The FAA implementation plan contains firm and fully funded commitments for near term operational changes, but the long range plan will require a coordinated effort by not only the FAA, but the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The plan is to introduce a lot of these changes by 2012 to 2018, and has an impact on airlines, airports and general aviation. However, not all is roses. What these changes mean for the airlines is that they will have to equip their fleets of aircraft with upgraded navigation systems, not something that will be cheap. FAA NextGen Plan Now that the Obama administration is buying companies in financial difficulties like the auto manufacturers, and is proposing programs like health care where everyone has health care, the airlines have extended their hand and suggested that the government pay for upgrading all of their fleets at the government's expense, not theirs. Their argument is that being cash-strapped the airlines have no money to pay for billions of dollars in new cockpit technology. The government argues that moving from ground-based radar systems to satellite systems which should allow aircraft to take more direct routes while assuming some of the duties now performed by air traffic controllers. Of course, the government claims that spending some $ 20 billion on the backbone of the system now will pay for itself by 2019 by reducing flight delays and saving some 1.4 billion gallons of fuel. Now, the last time I checked the government doesn't pay for the fuel for airliners, nor do they lose any money with air traffic delays. So where, please tell me, does the government "save" all of this money? Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association has said the given the $ 30 billion in losses the airlines have racked up over the past 3 years, where does the government think the airlines will get the money for these upgrades? Just like Obama Care, this idea seems to have some "fuzzy accounting" as justification for spending all of this money. What do you think? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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