FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2009
Contact: The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Pasquale DiFulco, 212 435-7777
PORT AUTHORITY LEADS NEW ALLIANCE URGING FULL
FEDERAL FUNDING TO UNCLOG AIR TRAFFIC
CONTROL SYSTEM AND EASE DELAYS FOR PASSENGERS
A Port Authority-led coalition featuring an unprecedented array of business, travel, tourism and airline officials met in New York City this morning, urging full funding for NextGen initiatives to overhaul the country's air traffic control system and significantly reduce delays that plague the nation's air travelers.
The National Alliance to Advance NextGen is composed of nearly 100 organizations representing millions of people. It called for an FAA Reauthorization Bill that includes the billions of dollars necessary to advance, install and operate NextGen technology as quickly as possible, and to do so in the New York metropolitan region first to provide the most widespread benefit, as studies have shown that 75 percent of the nation's air traffic delays have their genesis at one of the region's airports.
As part of the FAA Reauthorization Bill, NextGen - an advanced GPS system that helps air traffic controllers move more aircraft more efficiently - will need a long-term, multiyear commitment from Congress and the administration. Total funding is expected to require $8 billion to $10 billion for the first 10 years, and $15 billion to $22 billion through 2025.
Members of the broad-based Alliance include Accenture, Airports Council International -North America, the Greater New York Hospital Association, the Newark Regional Business Partnership, and the U.S. Travel Association.
New York Governor David A. Paterson said, "NextGen technology will usher in a new era of efficiency and profitability for the airline industry, and I urge the federal government to fully fund its implementation. During a time of unprecedented economic challenges, we cannot afford to have one of our state's and our country's key industries hampered by delays. As a matter of convenience, as a matter of economics and as a matter of safety, we must bring air traffic control into the 21st century."
New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine said, "Embracing 21st century technology is key for numerous reasons, first and foremost being the safety and comfort of air travelers coming into our nation's airports. And considering that airports in New Jersey and New York serve as a gateway to the nation's commerce, there is a real national interest in getting this system implemented as soon as feasible."
"Every day that passes without federal action on NextGen costs our region time, money, and a competitive edge," Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said. "We're spending billions to upgrade our terminals and runways and we're counting on the federal government to match our commitment by overhauling the 1950s-era air traffic control system."
"Flight delays are hurting our economy at a time when we can least afford it. There are no panaceas to this problem, but NextGen is as close as they come and we all must urge the federal government to implement it immediately," Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said.
"It's unacceptable to have an air traffic control system in 2009 that continues to rely on technology developed in the first half of the last century," Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Susan Bass Levin said. "We've figured out a way to use global positioning satellite systems to guide cars on roadways. It's long past the time that we did the same to move aircraft more efficiently through the skies."
"We can accelerate the transformation of our air traffic control system or risk losing our leadership role in global aviation," said Air Transport Association President and CEO James C. May. "The FAA and Congress must accelerate NextGen now in order to achieve the economic and environmental benefits deserved by passengers, shippers, our communities, and our country."
"Air travelers cannot continue to be subject to countless hours wasted on air traffic delays," said David Stempler, President of the Air Travelers Association. "With NextGen, we have the technology to fix this nation's air traffic control system and free the flying public from delays, and we urge decisive action from Congress and the FAA to make it a reality for passengers."
"Congestion delays are among our top concerns," said Michael Cintron of the International Airline Passengers Association. "Safety, service and environment are critical to our 400,000 frequent flyer members, and full funding and implementation of NextGen technology will bring us closer to the comprehensive solution our travelers deserve."
NextGen will reduce air traffic congestion by utilizing satellite communication technology to inform air traffic controllers and pilots of the exact location of aircraft. The technology works like an advanced GPS system to help air traffic controllers space aircraft adequately, utilizing digitally broadcast information about each aircraft's position, altitude, direction of movement, and horizontal and vertical speed. This information is combined with overlays of weather conditions and topographic maps to produce detailed pictures of the surrounding airspace. Air traffic controllers and pilots can move aircraft into and out of airports more expeditiously and are able to identify potential problems quickly and safely.
NextGen technology already is being used successfully all over the world, including here in the United States by the United Parcel Service in Kentucky, by small aircraft in Alaska, and by helicopters serving oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
Members of the Alliance are:
AFCO AvPorts Management, LLC
Air Carrier Association of America
Air Transport Association
Air Travelers Association
Airports Council International-North America
American Association of Airport Executives
Association for a Better New York
Association for Minority Enterprises of New York
Aviation Development Council
B.R. Guest Restaurants
Bunny Grossinger Enterprises
Business Travel Coalition
Cargo Airline Association
Carpenters Local #45
Clough Harbor Associates
Council for Airport Opportunity
Council of Airline Maintenance Managers
Davler Media Group
Dockbuilders Local #1456
Empire State Building
Floor Coverers Local #2287
Frasca & Associates, LLC
General Contractors Association of New York
Gilbane Building Company
Gray Line New York Sightseeing
Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce
Greater New York Hospital Association
Hempstead Chamber of Commerce
Holt Construction Corporation
Hudson County Chamber of Commerce
International Airline Passengers Association
Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum NYC
Island Park Chamber of Commerce
JFK Air Cargo Association
JFK Chamber of Commerce
King Manor Museum
Kingsborough Community College Department of Tourism and Hospitality
Laborers Local #79
LaGuardia Airport Airline Management Council
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce
Millwright Local #740
Morris Visitor Publications
Myriad Restaurant Group
National Air Carrier Association
National Air Transportation Association
New Jersey Air Service Development Office
New Jersey Aviation Association
New York Building Congress
New York City Business Travel Association
New York City Marriot Hotels
New York Pass
Newark International Airport Air Cargo Council
Newark Liberty International Airport Marriot Hotel
Newark Regional Business Partnership
Nicholas & Lence Communications LLC
NYC & Company
NYC District Council Of Carpenters
Orange County Chamber Of Commerce
Partnership for New York City
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
Queens Air Services Development Offices
Queens Chamber of Commerce
Queens Economic Development Corporation
Regional Airline Association
Regional Plan Association
Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation
Stewart Air Service Development Office
Terminal One Group Association, JFK International Airport
Timberman Local #1536
Times Square Alliance
Tisch, Jonathan M., Chairman Emeritus, U.S. Travel Association
U.S. Travel Association
Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce
VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture, P. C.
William Boudouva & Associates
World Product Centre
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Port Authority Auto Marine Terminal; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Greenville Yard-Port Authority Marine Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan and is a partner in the Access to the Region's Core tunnel project.