Jim Burnley quoted on air traffic control reform in Law360

1 min

Venable partner Jim Burnley was quoted in a January 21 2016 Law360 article on the need to improve and reform air traffic control operations. As Congress debates long-term funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a government watchdog report suggests that the agency is operating inefficiently despite efforts to revamp many of its programs. Among the possibilities being debated in Congress is a proposal to introduce a privatized or nonprofit-run air traffic control system.

"The reasons are very simple: We’re trying to run a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, highly complex, very complicated, high-technology business under the same rules that apply to federal grant programs, and it does not work very well" said Burnley. "And that's not the fault of the leadership at the FAA, which today is as strong as I’ve ever seen. It's like Gulliver. They're hidebound by federal rules."

He added, "We need a system that has predictable, stable funding where the people in charge can do complex high-tech procurements the way they're done in the private sector, where they can do long-range capital planning and know that funds will be there and be able to go to the bond markets, which the FAA cannot now do."