By Tom LaJoie, President and CEO of eTT Aviation
Laurie Garrow wrote an insightful opinion March 2 in Scientific American.
I agree with Ms. Garrow on a few key points:
I believe that the recent system failures in the aviation industry highlight the need for modernization and reform. The FAA’s Notice to Air Systems (NOTAM) outage in January and Southwest Airlines’ meltdown in December resulted in significant delays, cancellations, and losses for airlines and passengers.
These failures reveal the very real IT challenges facing the U.S. air travel network, which relies on outdated IT systems and business practices. It’s essential to find solutions that update these systems, as well as change the way we fund the FAA. The FAA’s NextGen program, which is modernizing the National Airspace System, can serve as a model for reform.
Southwest’s meltdown was caused by outdated flight management systems that couldn’t adapt to the stress of slow-moving blizzards in Denver and Chicago. To prevent similar events from happening, airlines should invest in modernizing their IT systems and update their business models. For example, robust networks that use “hub isolation” and “crew with aircraft” concepts can help isolate delays and contain flight disruptions.
Overall, the aviation industry must embrace modernization to avoid similar system failures in the future. As stakeholders, we should advocate for dependable funding for the FAA and invest in modernizing IT systems to ensure a more resilient air travel network for passengers and airlines alike.
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