U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) visited Charleston International Airport and its Air Traffic Control Tower last week.
Sanford met with air traffic controllers and members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) to discuss the upcoming installation of the Next Generation (NextGen) Air Transport System. The new system will replace the 1950s era radar-based system. Satellites, automation and GPS will be integral parts of the new air traffic control system.
“Air traffic controllers are, in many ways, everyday unsung heroes," Sanford said. "Their job ranks as one of the most stressful occupations and perfection is their norm, and for that, I think we’re all grateful. The NextGen System that will be installed at Charleston is not only a smarter, satellite-based system, but it brings with it increased efficiencies that will ultimately result in safer, more direct airline routing that shortens flights and burns less fuel.”
The NATCA members and Sanford, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee, also discussed his efforts to cut red tape in hiring new air traffic controllers. As co-sponsor of H.R. 5292 Air Traffic Controller Hiring Improvement Act of 2016, Sanford encouraged recruitment and hiring of experienced air traffic controllers. The bill was signed into law this summer.
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