Jim Burnley published "Modernize our air traffic control system sooner, not later" in The Hill on May 1, 2015. This article was co-written by former Sen. Byron Dorgan.
Every day millions of people flying across the country rely on World War II-era technology to guide them safely to their destinations. That's because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still using radar guidance instead of upgrading to the modern satellite-based technology. With the reauthorization of the FAA due by September 2015, FAA and the Congress have an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). Hoping to assist in implementing this program faster, a Working Group, of which the writers of this article are co-chairs, consisting of a wide variety of air transportation experts, was created to research, evaluate past attempts at reform, explore successful ATC models in other countries, etc. They have recently released their first public document - a Statement of Principles - to assist lawmakers with the modernization of the ATC system. In the document, their ten principles address what they feel should be priorities by giving a blueprint for a viable way forward.