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Ashley Nunes


Ashley Nunes conducts policy research in aviation safety, regulatory affairs and behavioral economics. He has lectured globally on the challenges facing the air transportation industry and led research projects sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense. Nunes earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where he examined the scientific merit of raising controller retirement ages.


The Safety Case For Privatization Isn’t A Slam-Dunk 4
In an industry where mistakes can prove deadly, any change in the status quo raises questions about safety. Hence, reform advocates have been quick to point out the safety benefits of privatization.
Opinion: Burning Planes Can’t Stop Carry-on Obsessed Passengers But Don’t Expect Fines to Either 1
Last week, an American Airlines aircraft caught fire during takeoff at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. Amateur footage of the scene shows thick black smoke billowing from the burning wreckage. It also shows passengers running away, some with their carry-on bags in hand.
Opinion: Safety Is A Hard Sell. Here’s Why 14
Safety is a word synonymous with air travel but with limited capital, airlines must choose wisely where to spend their money.
Opinion: Blame Science For Snoozing On The Flight Deck 15
The regulatory limits aimed at managing pilot fatigue are the product of four decades’ worth of scientific research. But to what extent is this research able to predict how safely an airplane is flown?
Opinion: In Defense of Cost-Effective Safety
History is filled with examples of aviation enterprises that had flawless safety records but were fiscally unviable. Safety is important, but so is profitability. Industry sustainability requires both, in equal measure.
Opinion: The Economics of Staying Alert 1
Whether or not managing fatigue on the flight deck can deliver savings to airlines, and ultimately passengers is an open question.
Air traffic controller at work in tower
Opinion: Tackling America’s Perceived Air Traffic Controller Shortage 12
Air traffic controllers cost the taxpayer nearly $2.8 billion annually. It is therefore important that staffing decisions be driven by sound analysis. And this means asking the right questions.
Opinion: Rethinking Flight Safety In The Age Of Technology 13
Pilots working 14-hour days may be an alarming prospect, but the highly automated nature of flying today allows aircraft flown by those pilots to still reach their destinations without incident. Tackling this issue means rethinking how aviation safety is measured.
Opinion: Why Air Traffic Controllers Need Shorter Weekends 16
The prospect of a drowsy controller sitting behind the wheel of car should be as unsettling as that of one sitting in front of a radar screen.
A photo of an air traffic controller
Opinion: Air Traffic Control’s $93,000 Question 30
The FAA incurs a cost of $93,000 per Air Traffic Control trainee annually. The FAA argues that its new Biographical Assessment “measures qualities known to predict air traffic controller success” and has been “validated based on years of extensive research.” But do these claims stand up to scrutiny?
Opinion: Be Careful What You Wish For 11
The number of commercial airplanes flying worldwide is expected to increase from 21,600 in 2014 to 43,560 in 2034. To manage all that extra metal, a series of recruitment and training campaigns have been launched to train more air traffic controllers. Such efforts are well intentioned. Training more controllers is one sure-fire means of alleviating airspace congestion. But it also comes at a cost.
Opinion: The Rule Of Two (Or Three): Right Sentiment, Inadequate Response 13
Delivering the assurance of safety by increasing human presence on the flight deck is hardly a sure bet.
Customer Experience Is The Next Competitive Battleground 12
U.S. carriers feel a deep sense of frustration as they watch the likes of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways penetrate the American market from nearly 12,000 kilometers away.
Addressing Workforce Shortages Requires Less Talk, And More Technology 4
Studies suggest that with air transportation demand set to double by 2030, nearly a million new pilots, maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers and cabin crew will be needed to keep the industry moving forward.
Opinion: Why Less Legroom May Mean Less Safe 16
The economics of packing more passengers onto airplanes seems sound, but can the same be said for safety?

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