Aviation Advisory Committee Charts Its Own Flight Path


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Aviation Advisory Committee Charts Its Own Flight Path

Shane Nolan

May 26, 2010 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, at Tuesdays’ opening session of the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee, charged the committee’s members with helping to ensure that the U.S. aviation industry remains vital, competitive, sustainable and safe.

 “Today, men and women who care deeply about the future of aviation in this country come together to challenge old assumptions and tackle persistent problems in new ways,” Secretary LaHood told the members meeting at the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters.


“I have high hopes and high expectations for what this committee of diverse experts can accomplish on behalf of the aviation industry, its workforce and consumers.” The committee, formally established in April, grew out of a forum last November hosted by Secretary LaHood on the future of the U.S. aviation industry.  The committee is charged with providing information, advice, and recommendations to the Secretary on ensuring the competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry and its capability to address the evolving transportation needs, challenges and opportunities of the U.S. and global economy.

The committee will focus principally on five issue areas:  ensuring aviation safety, ensuring a world-class aviation workforce, balancing the industry’s competitiveness and viability, securing stable funding for aviation systems, and addressing environmental challenges and solutions.  The committee plans to meet five times over the coming year, during which it will develop its recommendations to the Secretary.

This 19-member panel of experienced aviation industry professionals has no small mission: to map a course that ensures the industry remains vital, competitive, sustainable, and--above all--safe. Because industry professionals themselves nominated the best and brightest from a true cross-section of the aviation community--airlines, transportation unions, manufacturing, general aviation, academia, finance, and consumer groups--I have high expectations for the committee's success.

And one more factor that promises success is the powerful toolkit we've made available to the committee; Federal rulemaking, proposing legislation to Congress and recommending private industry compliance measures. Randy Babbitt, FAA Administrator said "look, I don't care what tools the committee uses; I just want them to recommend action. Action we can take now or in the very near future, action that makes a real difference.

“There's no point in sugar-coating it; the aviation industry is at a very critical crossroads, facing a range of complex economic, environmental, and technological challenges. Facing those challenges, this committee will discuss, and this committee will deliberate. But, make no mistake I have every confidence that--in the end--the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee that takes off today will act”.

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