ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak wrote an op-ed that ran in The Hill last week lamenting the lack of a national airline policy that will uplift and promote U.S. aviation and its employees. He wrote:
“Working inside the Washington, D.C. “bubble” sometimes brings certain contrasts in life into sharp focus. One such is the disparity between the regulatory and tax burdens of aviation versus those of commercial space ventures and the differences in federal government support for each domain. A recent example: On August 13, the keynote luncheon speaker at the monthly meeting of the Aero Club of Washington was George Whitesides, CEO and president of Virgin Galactic….
“Whitesides’ presentation, including an exciting video of Virgin Galactic’s developmental flights of its suborbital spaceplane, was riveting. But some of us who work in the lower reaches of Earth’s atmosphere couldn’t help but draw contrasts between the rarefied environment in which Virgin Atlantic already is operating and the obstacles we in the airline industry slog through like a winter takeoff in deep slush….Whitesides said his company is working with the FAA’s Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center to develop special ATC procedures for SS2 flights. Contrast that with what is happening with respect to our ever more constrained U.S. national airspace system and the political delay of our increasingly needed NextGen, the ambitious but overdue modernization of our air traffic control, airspace, and overall air transportation system.
“Though progress has been made on this vitally important infrastructure overhaul, obtaining an adequate, consistent, multi-year funding stream for NextGen has been an ongoing and uphill battle for years. But the struggle to build NextGen—on time, on budget, and in the correct ways—is only one aspect of the costs to our nation of not having a coherent national aviation policy that supports and promotes all aspects of the U.S. aviation industry, including the airline industry that knits our nation together and bridges oceans, continents, and cultures.”