Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

91 surveyors. Having this technology would mean that pilots would know where other planes are and be able to avoid midair collisions more easily, especially in low-visibility conditions. Barriers to Implementation Despite the logic of these proposed solutions, there remain several issues surrounding their implementation, specifically regarding costs and a debate over the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved in each proposed solution. Considerations of the costs of implementing each of these solutions, which stakeholders are involved and what would be expected from each, and what presents the greatest issue with each solution must take place. Installing AWOSs carries several important considerations. These systems are huge, complex, and somewhat fragile, meaning that they require both a large upfront cost to install and regular maintenance and upgrades, along with a skilled workforce to carry out these responsibilities. According to their guidelines, airports must purchase AWOSs from one of four FAA-certified AWOS manufacturers, namely Optical Scientific, DBT Transportation Services, Mesotech International, and All Weather (FAA, 2021a). Airports often find as well that in order to meet their specific needs they must install an upgraded version of the basic AWOS system, called an AWOS III. The most basic systems just provide data like wind speed and temperature, whereas the upgraded systems provide additional essential data like sky conditions and current weather (Mesotech International, 2022). The FAA also dictates “AWOS systems to be serviced three times per year by a qualified technician who has received verification authority by the FAA and holds a Federal Communications Commission General Radiotelephone Operator License” (Automated Weather…, 2021). Consequently, when an airport wants to install an AWOS, it must follow strict regulatory parameters, all of which, in turn, bring various expenses that when combined make cost the main problem for those seeking to install an AWOS. There is no official standard cost for setting up an AWOS but the total cost can be estimated from existing AWOS proposals from the Alaska Air Carriers Association, a commercial aviation support and advocacy group. Costs encompass four distinct categories: construction and site preparation, total equipment, telecommunications, and installation. The largest costs—construction, site preparation, and equipment— often must be paid upfront. Construction and site preparation alone generally run around $100,000, while the cost of equipment, including the AWOS itself, often amounts to about the same. After purchasing all the necessary equipment, an airport must hire qualified installers. Given the harsh environment of Alaska and the difficulty of building, even in summer, costs typically can add up to $50,000. All these upfront costs amount to approximately $250,000. A quarter-million dollars is already beyond the reach of most small towns and airports, but the costs do not end there. After everything is set up, airports face an annual telecommunications cost to make the data available. Telecommunication, depending on location, tends to cost an average of $20,000 for the first 2 years, with the price dropping to $5000 annually afterward (Alaska Department…, 2017). The 10-year total projected cost of installing and maintaining an AWOS then adds up to around $330,000. The cost of a new AWOS is steep, but some Alaskan towns and villages have been able to receive this kind of funding through a combination of mostly local private investors and existing federal money from the Airport Improvement Program. Recently, more funding for infrastructure projects like this came from federal sources like the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, American Rescue Plan, and 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (FAA, 2021b). The infrastructure bill is sending $80M to Alaskan airports, with even the smallest receiving at least $110,000 (Ruskin, 2021). Cost is certainly the largest roadblock to installing AWOSs; yet another serious issue stems from the fact that these systems cannot be set up in mountainous, isolated areas. While installing new AWOSs would do a great deal to ensure that enhanced weather information is available to pilots flying near population hubs and over flat land, they would do nothing for people flying through the myriad mountain passes that exist throughout the state. The weather there is harsh and unpredictable, making the mountains one of the most dangerous areas for Alaskan pilots. So, although installing