In downturn, RAA’s Cohen sees opportunity to improve ATC

Regional Airline Association (RAA) President Roger Cohen gave an interview to Aviation International News, in which he expressed optimism about a certain “breathing room” that has emerged in the shrinking airline industry. Cohen believes this period provides a window in which capacity and congestion issues can be “fixed.”

“We joined with every other aviation alphabet organization in saying this downturn in the economy really has given us great breathing room to begin speeding up the implementation of an improved ATC system,” said Cohen. “That has been a continuing theme RAA has [pressed], because we account for half the flights, and the majority of those on one end is one of the busy connection hubs.” [..]

Cohen said that the industry finds itself in an unwinnable situation as it cuts capacity and less traffic leads to fewer delays. “I think this industry gets screwed no matter what,” he said bluntly. “If [congestion is] a front-page item, we get slot auctions and everybody complaining about airline delays, and when we work to solve them, either because of fewer flights or because everyone’s doing a better job, then it takes off the pressure and we miss another opportunity to fix the system.”

Nevertheless, Cohen expressed enthusiasm about the direction the new Administration appears headed on issues such as Essential Air Service funding and congestion pricing, for example.


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