FAA announces $1 billion investment in air traffic control system

Apr 27, 2022

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The nation’s air traffic control facilities will soon be getting a facelift.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday announced how it would allocate the initial $1 billion in funding for the air traffic control (ATC) system that was passed as part of last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. As part of that, Congress passed $5 billion in total funding for air traffic control.

Many ATC facilities are aging. The nation’s 22 air route traffic control centers, which handle high-altitude traffic during the en route phase of flight, were built in the 1960s and have had maintenance issues over the years. In addition, half of the FAA’s air traffic control towers and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities — which control the airspace around the nation’s busiest airports — are over 40 years old.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg saw that firsthand during a recent visit to the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, Virginia. He toured an area full of pipes that’s directly above the control room floor where air traffic controllers guide aircraft and work with sensitive electronic equipment. Those pipes have leaked before, threatening to cause an ATC disruption that could have caused delays or cancellations to commercial flights. 


“Air traffic control facilities are the nerve centers of our airspace system, and a big part of the reason why flying is the safest mode of transportation,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will repair, replace and modernize the infrastructure that our air traffic control system relies on to keep the traveling public safe for generations to come.”

Among the improvements that the $1 billion will go to: reliability improvements for navigation, weather and tracking equipment, upgrades to power systems, infrastructure upgrades at the en route air route traffic control centers (like the one Buttigieg visited), towers and TRACONs, air traffic control tower replacement, environmental and safety upgrades and security upgrades. The funding will also be used to hire more technicians and engineers.

More: How pilots communicate with ATC while 35,000 feet in the air

Additionally, FAA Deputy Administrator A. Bradley Mims said that the agency will prioritize businesses owned by women and minorities for contracts awarded as part of this funding.

“There’s a great deal of work needed to reduce the backlog of sustainment work, upgrades and replacement of buildings and equipment needed to operate our nation’s airspace safely,” Mims said in a statement. “We are going to make sure small and disadvantaged businesses owned by women and minorities have the chance to do this work so we can expand jobs and opportunities across the country.”

Featured photo of the air traffic control tower at the Boston Logan Airport — one of the FAA’s older facilities — by David Slotnick/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.