U.S. Airlines Provide Emergency Airlift for New Orleans Evacuees
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating blow to the Gulf coast, the Department of Homeland Security, the Air Transport Association and the Department of Transportation launched “Operation Air Care” to provide emergency airlift to more than 25,000 stranded New Orleans residents.
“DHS is truly grateful to the airlines for their immediate and generous contribution to help us to bring hurricane victims to safety,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Jackson. Mr. Jackson also serves on the Next Generation Air Transportation System Senior Policy Committee.
“This extraordinary civilian airlift is unprecedented in U.S. history, and is a shining example of how America can come together to help those in need,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “Our member airlines have willingly offered to help the federal government get the job done and we will continue these efforts until they are no longer needed.”
"We've cleared the runways and are watching the skies to make sure these humanitarian flights get in and out safely," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. "From the moment Hurricane Katrina passed, the DOT has been working around the clock to put the people and equipment in place to sustain a massive airlift operation."
Passenger carriers participating in this effort include Alaska, America West, American, ATA, Continental, Delta, Jet Blue, Northwest, Southwest, United, US Airways, and Air Canada. Cargo carriers also are providing support, including ASTAR Air Cargo, Federal Express and UPS Airlines.
This all-volunteer effort is being coordinated by the Air Transport Association and its member carriers, who are providing aircraft and crews who have volunteered their time to this incredible effort.
The Air Transport Association is the trade group representing the nation’s leading airlines. ATA members transport more than 90 percent of all passengers and cargo in the United States.
Air Transport Assn. Says New ATM a Must
The Air Transport Association (ATA) believes there is “no choice” but to develop a new air traffic management system. ATA, which represents the nation’s major airlines, has once again voiced its support for the Next Generation Air Transportation System plan, while stating that the greatest challenge for the plan is its implementation.
“We are [now] confronted with both a formidable challenge and a great opportunity,” ATA said in its 2005 Economic Report. “Our current air traffic management system is a patchwork of antiquated technologies that cannot meet 21st century needs…. Today’s system, designed around 1950s technology and information-sharing concepts, is simply no longer sustainable.”
ATA’s report praises the NGATS initiative, noting that, “Achieving the vision of a transformed air transportation system demands new thinking. It requires us to be open to new possibilities and embrace new approaches. ATA is proud to play its part in this crucial endeavor.”
However, ATA warns that, “Execution of the plan will require an unprecedented level of coordination between government and industry. Most importantly, the plan must be economically realistic, scalable to the fluid nature of aviation service requirements, and provide real accountability for performance.”
Earlier this summer, ATA testified before Congress, saying that its members support the Joint Planning and Development Office’s approach to accommodate changes in aircraft size, as well as the projected growth in demand.
ATA President and Chief Executive Officer James C. May serves as co-chairman for the NGATS Institute Management Council, which governs the body. The 16-member council represents the aviation stakeholder community, including regional commercial airline operations, business aircraft operations, helicopter operations; small aircraft general aviation, commercial pilots, air traffic controllers, airport operators, manufacturers of air vehicles, manufacturers of airborne/spaceborne and ground based equipment, federal advisory committees, universities, and nonprofit research organizations.