This week we start a new series on The Next Wave of Deregulation. It should be an interesting read and hopefully we can discover together what the next big bang in aviation is. As always, I would like all aviators to connect with their roots and one of the ways they can do that is by using the “Third Dimension Blog” as a resource.
“You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.”—Amelia Earhart
Some industry watchers have said that after more than twenty years of airline deregulation, air travel is again coming to the forefront of public policy. The number of complaints about congestion, delays, increasing fares and the loss of service at some of the smaller communities has reached an all-time high. There have been a number of proposals by the policymakers in Washington, but the most outlandish is federal control over fares and routes again. However, most observers discounted this policy before the ink was dry.
It is the micromanagement started by the CAB, and continued by the FAA, that is still causing problems for the legacy carriers and others. So what are the alternatives? Deregulate the airports and turn them over to private enterprise, as well as privatize the ATC system. In a recent report, it was stated that new technology exists that could produce an increase in capacity of up to fifty percent at airports such as LGA and DCA. However, these new technologies are not likely to be employed in a timely fashion because the ATC system is obsolescent and will not change dramatically until the system is turned into a business that is funded by its users.
The second piece in the puzzle is the airports and their need to be free to expand based on market demands, and not the control of funds by the FAA. This can be done by airports charging access charges during peak times with those additional revenues being directed to new runways and capacity enhancements for that airport. This gives the control of the airport back to the community it serves, and allows the marketplace to control expansion or contraction of services.
The technology is there and the business model is in place for the airports, but there have to be policy changes in Washington to allow this to happen. If the policymakers free up the infrastructure, private enterprise can better cope with the dynamics of an expanding marketplace better than the present system which is being micromanaged by policymakers.
Next week, I will continue with the series on the next wave and highlight a few of the changes needed for the system to move forward and catch up with the 21st century.
So, until then, take some time to look back, connect with your past and remember as an aviator you are a “Gatekeeper of the Third Dimension.”
Protect your profession, your future and the future of your fellow aviators.
October 9, 2009