July 16, 2008

Port Authority Criticizes FAA


The Port Authority wants the Federal Aviation Administration to revamp its air traffic control system following a series of near- misses in the New York area.

The bi-state agency's top officials sent a letter to the FAA Tuesday calling for technology enhancements that will lead to "more precise surveillance of aircraft in the air and on the ground."

In a letter to acting Administrator Robert Sturgell, Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia and Executive Director Chris Ward also called on the FAA to develop a notification system with local airport operators in the event of significant incidents.

"It is simply unacceptable for the FAA to keep the local airport operator in the dark when the safety of our passengers and the efficiency of our airports are at stake," Coscia and Ward wrote in the letter.

FAA spokeswoman Tammy Jones said her agency is working toward replacing its old radar systems with satellite technology, having just awarded a contract to a company that will lay the groundwork for the transition.

"It is in the works," she said.

The Port Authority also suggested developing better navigation systems and new procedures and technology to use multiple runways simultaneously and safely.

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