The National Airspace System (NAS) is comprised of the airspace, navigation facilities, and airports of the U.S. along with associated technologies, services, policies, procedures, and personnel.
It is difficult to sugarcoat the condition of America’s civil aviation infrastructure, including the air traffic control (ATC) system itself. This critical national asset utilizes World War II-era surveillance radar technology as the basis for safe separation of aircraft flying at 500 miles per hour. Position fixes are updated every 12 seconds due to the physical rotation of the radar dish, and over this time aircraft can travel a mile or more in distance. Safe separation today dictates that aircraft must fly five miles apart as a result of these delays. Aircraft follow inefficient routes to their destinations in order to stay in touch with various ground-based control centers, while terrain or altitude may cause aircraft to disappear from radar altogether.
The Inflection Point
For these reasons, the current Administration has identified ATC reform as one of its signature issues. With strong opposition from general aviation, consumer groups, a significant number of state and local governments, some security experts, numerous liberal and conservative think tanks, and many members of Congress, corporatization could run into severe headwinds.
In the meantime FAA infrastructure modernization needs urgent attention. By treating the physical ATC system as eligible infrastructure, and applying corporate best practices, private capital, innovative financing tools and public private partnerships, desperately needed progress should become visible quickly, and at reduced cost to the American taxpayer. We refer to this alternative as the FAA P3 ATC Modernization Plan (P3-AMP). A detailed blueprint for P3-AMP is available for review on the ADS Infrastructure website.
The new Administration intends to bolster America’s investment in infrastructure generally through policy changes backed by a $1 Trillion fund. Corporatization of the FAA is planned, but far more is needed to ensure success in today’s environment.
In response to this challenge, ADS Infrastructure Partners, LLC, and our major sponsors have organized this two‐day Conference and Summit, FAA Infrastructure Modernization, Innovative Financing and Public Private Partnerships, to be held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. January 22 ‐ 23, 2018.
This Conference and Summit is designed to engage thought leaders from the Administration, Congress, the investment community, the aerospace sector, airlines, airports, air cargo companies, and academia. The overarching goal is to share ideas, explore and challenge assumptions, policy positions, and current practices that need to be reevaluated or altogether changed such that the benefits of 21st Century aviation infrastructure can be fully realized.