Modernizing the U.S. Air Navigation Service

23 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2014

See all articles by Lance Sherry

Lance Sherry

Center for Air Transportation Systems Research

Date Written: December 2014


The modern Air Navigation Service (ANS), also known as Air Traffic Control (ATC), is one of the largest networked socio-technical systems developed and operated by humankind. The ANS ensures safe and efficient flight operations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year across continents and oceans for upwards of 15 million flights per year. Since Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) operate under the legal framework of a public utility (or quasi-public utility) and are subject to a range of externalities, productivity improvements and modernization initiatives are not efficiently driven by market forces and require government mandates. This paper describes the ANS modernization initiatives underway in the United States. The enabling technologies, concepts-of-operations, and challenges to modernization are discussed.

Keywords: Air transport, Air Traffic Control, Air Navigation Service Provider, United States, enabling technologies, modernization

Suggested Citation

Sherry, Lance, Modernizing the U.S. Air Navigation Service (December 2014). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. 2014/116, Available at SSRN: or

Lance Sherry (Contact Author)

Center for Air Transportation Systems Research ( email )

4400 University Drive
Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 4501
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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