Airlines for America

Upgrading Air Travel in the United States

  • Challenge

    Changes were needed in the law to upgrade and replace much of the air traffic control system with newer technologies. With not enough public outcrying of support to implement such changes, a broad coalition of stakeholders and organzations were needed to provide cover to lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

  • Problem

    The United States air traffic control system was created in the 1950’s as airplane travel became more and more prevalent in the country. While the system was effective throughout much of the last half century, wider technological progress – such as GPS technology – made upgrades to the broader system necessary. However, the political will to implement such changes was missing, resulting in costly delays for passengers, inefficiencies and system-wide dissatisfaction. Congressional legislation was sought to increase flight safety and efficiency, and foster innovation in aviation equipment and technology.

  • Solution

    J Strategies worked to implement a broad stakeholder coalition composed of economic development organizations and leaders, radar technology companies, transportation and aviation companies, tourism organizations, local and state legislators, and New York union members and leadership. The coalition, once assembled, was given messaging and other collateral information to best activate them in a short amount of time. Working with J Strategies’ teams, high-level coalition members, including New York City’s biggest business advocacy organization, drafted and placed op-ed pieces, and letters to the editor, as well as wrote emails and letters to Congress.


The level of public awareness on the topic of the air traffic control system was elevated beyond what it had ever been before. Directly stemming from this campaign, conversations have ensued in the past few years about how to best achieve the goals outlined by the work of A4A.

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