Deregulation Of The Airline In Essay

This essay has a total of 1948 words and 11 pages.

Deregulation Of The Airline In


Deregulation of the U.S. airline industry has resulted in ticket prices dropping by a
third, on an inflation-adjusted basis. As a result some 1.6 million people fly on 4,000
aircraft every day. Airlines carried 643 million passengers in 1998, a 25% increase over
1993 and the FAA estimates that the nation¡¦s airline system will have to accommodate
917 million passengers by the year 2008. The growth in air travel threatens to overwhelm
the presently inadequate air traffic control system, which has not kept pace with
available technology in navigation, communications, and flight surveillance. Much of the
equipment used for air traffic control today is based on fifty-year-old technology; for
example, analog simplex voice links for communications and ground-based radar for
surveillance, and VHF Omnidirectional Range/Distance Measuring Equipment (VOR/DME) for
navigation. The lack of system automation imposes heavy workloads on human air traffic
controllers and increases the risk of accidents in heavy traffic situations.


Capacity limits are being reached in both airports and airspace, with congestion delays in
departure and arrival schedules reaching record numbers. Funds to upgrade the air traffic
control system are available in the trust fund created to receive the tax applied to
airline passenger tickets and the tax on fuel for general aviation. The General Accounting
Office says modernizing the air traffic control system will cost at least 17 billion for
just the first 5 years of the FAA¡¦s 15-year National Airspace System improvement plan.
It is the NAS that provides the services and infrastructure for air transportation. Air
transportation represents 6% of the Nation¡¦s gross domestic product, so the NAS is a
critical element of our national economy.


Given the size of the NAS, the task ahead is enormous. Our NAS includes more than 18,300
airports, 21 air route traffic control centers, over 460 air traffic control towers and 75
flight service stations, and approximately 4,500 air navigation facilities. The NAS spans
the country, extends into the oceans, and interfaces with neighboring air traffic control
systems for international flights. The NAS relies on approximately 30,000 FAA employees to
provide air traffic control, flight service, security, and field maintenance services.
More than 616,000 active pilots operating over 280,000 commercial, regional, general
aviation and military aircraft use the NAS.


On March 11, 1999, the FAA released the NAS Architecture Version 4.0 to the public. Key
influences on the architecture include the 1996 White House Commission on Aviation Safety
and Security, which recommended that the FAA accelerate modernization of the NAS, and the
1997 National Civil Aviation Review Commission, which recommended funding and performance
management methods for implementing NAS modernization. It describes the agency¡¦s
modernization strategy from 1998 through 2015. Based on the Free Flight operational
concept, Version 4.0 contains capabilities, technologies, and systems to enhance the
safety of the aviation system and provide users and service providers with more efficient
services. Free Flight centers on allowing pilots, whenever practical, to choose the
optimum flight profile. This concept of operations is expected to decrease user costs,
improve airspace flexibility, and remove flight restrictions.


The NAS Architecture is divided into three modernization phases and its implementation is
being synchronized with the International Civil Aviation Organization to ensure
interoperability and global integration.

,h Phase 1 (1998-2002) focuses on sustaining essential air traffic control services and
delivering early user benefits. Free Flight Phase 1 will be implemented. Controller
computer workstations will begin major upgrades. Satellite-based navigation systems will
be deployed, and air-to-air surveillance will be introduced. The ¡§Year 2000¡¨
computer problem will hopefully be fixed.


,h Phase 2 (2003-2007) concentrates on deploying the next generation of communications,
navigation and surveillance (CNS) equipment and the automation upgrades necessary to
accommodate new CNS capabilities. Satellite-based navigation systems will be further
augmented in local areas for more precise approaches. New digital radios that maximize the
spectrum channels will be installed. As users equip, automatic dependent surveillance
ground equipment will be installed to extend air traffic control surveillance services to
non-radar areas. Tools from Phase 1 will be deployed throughout the NAS and upgraded as
necessary.

,h Phase 3 (2008-2015) completes the required infrastructure and integration of automation
advancements with the new CNS technologies, enabling additional Free Flight capabilities
throughout the NAS. Two important features will be NAS-wide information sharing among
users and service providers and ¡§four-dimensional¡¨ flight profiles that utilize
longitudinal and lateral positions and trajectories as a function of time.


The goals for modernizing the NAS are based on improving:

,h Safety ¡V such as better weather information in the cockpit and on controller displays.
,h Accessibility ¡V such as instrument approaches to many more airports.
,h Flexibility ¡V such as allowing users to select and fly desired routes.
,h Predictability ¡V such as meeting flight schedules even in adverse weather conditions.
,h Capacity ¡V such as increasing aircraft arrival rates to airports.
,h Efficiency ¡V such as saving fuel by reducing taxing times to/from the runways.
,h Security ¡V such as controlling access to facilities and critical information systems.

The NAS Architecture is essential to the FAA and the aviation community because it
provides the most detailed guide ever for planning operations and making NAS-related
investment decisions. The Blueprint and Version 4.0 will be updated in response to
changing needs, research results, new technology, and funding.


NAS modernization involves providing new systems to enhance capabilities and services for
users. Modernization also includes making the critical infrastructure of air traffic
control services easier and more cost-effective to operate and maintain. Critical
infrastructure includes:


,h Communications, navigation/landing and radar surveillance systems
,h Weather detection and reporting equipment
,h Air traffic control computers and displays for controllers
,h Power generation and backup systems
,h Air traffic control facilities sustainment

Here is a brief summary of key NAS systems/capabilities and their architectural improvements:

Communications
Aviation communications systems will be upgraded, integrating systems into a seamless
network using digital technology for voice and data. During the transition, the FAA will
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