Huerta Urges 'Meaningful Discussion' On ATC

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The outgoing administrator of the FAA had some gentle advice for NBAA delegates and the aviation leaders at the annual convention in Las Vegas Tuesday on the hot topic at play. Michael Huerta urged an overflow crowd at Tuesday’s general session not to be close-minded about changing the way air traffic control is funded and run and said there should be “meaningful discussion” about the issue. Much of the mainstage discussion at the convention has been about abject rejection of the notion of turning air traffic control over to a nonprofit corporation without Congressional oversight. Huerta reminded the crowd that under Congressional oversight the biggest challenge he has faced as administrator has been the inconsistent and unreliable funding of the agency in highly politicized Capitol Hill battles that used FAA reauthorization to move unrelated legislation through. “I don’t think that’s how the world’s best aviation system should be run,” he said.

Huerta said that despite the funding challenges, the agency is making good progress on its modernization program and he had a stern warning for those who think the 2020 deadline for ADS-B will be relaxed. “It’s not going to change,” he said. “ADS-B is essential to the future of U.S. aviation.” He said that to date only 30,000 of about 160,000 GA aircraft that will need it have been equipped and owners and operators have had plenty of time to comply.

Comments (6)

"Huerta reminded the crowd that under Congressional oversight the biggest challenge he has faced as administrator has been the inconsistent and unreliable funding of the agency"

Maybe there should be "meaningful discussion" on fixing the funding problem with Congress, rather than throwing our hands up and scrapping the whole thing by hanging over the keys for ATC to a corporation.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | October 11, 2017 11:17 AM    Report this comment

How do you have a meaningful discussion with the hate-filled Nazis of this "administration"?

Posted by: Kevin Smith | October 11, 2017 11:34 AM    Report this comment

Now that he is leaving, Huerta is showing his true colors in advocating that we gut the FAA by selling out ATC. Basically he is throwing his successor under the bus. If he thinks that splitting off ATC will solve the FAA's budget problems, it will actually make them worse. If the FAA no longer has the responsibility of maintaining and upgrading ATC, Congress will see little incentive to continue funding the rest of that bureaucracy at its present levels. They will get sucked into the same vortex other government agencies are in, and the budget battles will only get worse. Just look at what has happened to other agencies like HUD, Centers for Disease Control, etc., etc.

But, Huerta doesn't care. Maybe he has been offered a job to run the private ATC system.

Posted by: John McNamee | October 11, 2017 11:52 AM    Report this comment

This from an outgoing(thank goodness) lifelong bureaucrat! Hopefully the alphabet groups remember this when it comes time to appoint the next adminstrator!

Posted by: matthew wagner | October 11, 2017 12:37 PM    Report this comment

The admonition that we should look at ATC privatization with an open mind has merit. However, Administrator Huerta is the wrong person to make it given his support for a privatization plan that is a complete abrogation of the public interest.

Posted by: kim hunter | October 11, 2017 2:00 PM    Report this comment

I assume that this is the same Michael Huerta who stated on national TV that it is illegal to drop things from an aircraft.

Posted by: Ripley Quinby | October 11, 2017 5:20 PM    Report this comment

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