Authors Promote Privatized, Fee-for-service ATC

 - July 31, 2008, 11:50 AM

George Donohue and Russell Shaver launched a book and speaking tour for “Terminal Chaos: Why U.S. Air Travel is Broken and How to Fix It” on Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. The pair argued that ATC is congested from over-scheduling by the airlines, which fly aircraft too small to be fuel and cost-efficient. New legislation must be written and possible taxpayer aid given to the airlines for a transition, they said, with slots awarded in part to the largest aircraft suitable for given city pairs and in turn to those flying the highest load factors to better ration slots for a given level of passenger demand. In addition, they claimed ATC should move to an outsourced, fee-for-service concept, beginning with management of the upper airspace, with GA aircraft paying far more than the “fraction” of the ATC costs they now bear and ending subsidy from airline users. Donohue said that business jets and the emerging VLJ air-taxi market might overtake demand for ATC services by 2010 and, if so, will become scapegoats for congestion and face “major user fees.” Donohue and Shaver run the center for air transportation systems research at George Mason University.