Nineteen aviation, business and labor groups, the National Association of Manufacturers included, sent a joint letter to House Transportation Committee Chairman Oberstar and Ranking Member Mica urging support for modernizing the nation’s air traffic control system. The letter takes note of both the House Democratic leadership’s plans for a “jobs” bill and President Obama’s Dec. 3 White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth.
Competitiveness Under Threat
Currently, the aerospace industry provides a significant positive contribution to our balance of trade. However, the U.S. competitive position is being challenged by other countries like the European Union, Australia and Canada, which are outpacing us in implementing NextGen. Other countries like China and India will look to either the U.S. or Europe for leadership as they develop their air traffic control system. If the U.S. does not demonstrate leadership in deploying these technologies, opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and workers will be lost.
Economic and Employment Impact
Accelerated NextGen funding will drive the nation’s economic recovery and stimulate job growth across all sectors. The Joint Economic Committee has estimated that airline delays and congestion cost $40 billion in lost productivity and time for passengers and our economy. Solving the congestion and delay problems through more direct flights and increased efficiencies will increase productivity across the nation and put a serious dent in that $40 billion of lost productivity.
NextGen deployment will employ thousands of engineers, software developers and other high-tech workers to support a transition from a ground based radar infrastructure system to a satellite based infrastructure. In addition, pilots and other aviation jobs such as maintenance and installation jobs will benefit. A viable aviation sector enhances economic activity in a wide number of industries outside aviation including, among many others, travel and tourism and industries that rely on just-in-time global inventories and shipping capability.
The Air Transport Association has posted the full letter online.
The NAM has a summary sheet on NextGen here.
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