by Joseph Weisenthal

Filed Under:
aviation, faa

Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For The FAA To Solve Nation's Air Transport Woes

from the the-sky-is-still-falling dept

The expanded use of private and smaller regional jets has been hard on the nation's air travel system, because these planes use up infrastructure at a level that's disproportionate to the number of passengers they carry. Of course, the problems we've seen all summer only heighten the appeal of private air travel, further exacerbating the problem. Making matters worse is the fact that the FAA has shown no inclination to find innovative solutions. As Lynne Kiesling points out, there are a number of creative solutions out there that could mitigate the problem, none of which are really being pursued. Airlines could be forced to bid on landing rights, for example, which would force companies to prioritize their routes in a positive manner. As it is, landing fees are based on weight, which doesn't account for the longer time small planes spend on the runways. It's also been argued that the GPS system could do a better job of monitoring traffic than the existing radar systems, but plans to go down this route have stalled due to politics. Ultimately, there's no reason to expect the FAA to be innovative. It doesn't face any market pressure and there's no risk of it going under if it doesn't adapt. Instead, the only solution pushed is to encourage airlines to stop using small planes, which isn't very creative at all. All that would do is reduce options for customers, particularly those on less-traveled routes.

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  1. identicon
    Dick Fer, 16 Aug 2007 @ 4:54am

    I travel every week

    I fly every week. The news media would have us believe that the sky is falling. I've yet to see it. I fly in and out of Atlanta. And I fly in regional jets. Frankly, I don't think a lot of places would have service if it weren't for regional jets. You want to fly from Monroe, LA to Dayton, OH? You'll be on regional jets. There's no way the airlines are going to drop an MD80 or 737-800 or Airbus 320 into cities like Monroe, Dayton, Peoria, Ill, or hundreds of other cities. If it weren't for regional jets, I'd have to drive to 3 hours to Atlanta, then fly to Chicago, rent a car, and drive 3 hours to Peoria.

    As for the FAA, many people have unreal expectations of our government. Politicians and bureaucrats are not good at fixing things. They are good at standing in front of a TV camera and complaining. There are no problem solvers in the US government. If anything, they (politicians) create more problems than they solve. Corruption, pork barrel projects, or just plain ineptitude dominate our government. Bureaucrats are not incented to actually do things that benefit the citizens they serve. They are paid to cover their own backsides, and preserve the status quo. You will not find any bureaucrat willing to shake up the system. It would end their cushy desk job in a hurry.

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