Yesterday's U.S. Senate hearing on the FAA Reauthorization bill gave stakeholders a chance to air their perspectives on the industry and what it needs to move forward. You can see the archived webcast here.
Hot topics include the roll out of NextGen air traffic control, fatigue and stress among the aviation workforce, and foreign repair stations. No real surprises there.
Have thoughts to share? Please leave us a comment below. These are the types of issues we like to cover in O&M's monthly Washington in Action feature, so we'd like to have your input.
Below are a few key quotes that concern the maintenance community:
“Modernization of Air Traffic Control will fundamentally transform the way we travel. More efficient use of airspace will cut costs for everyday fliers, while also accommodating millions of additional passengers with less congestion and fewer delays. It is imperative that we take this opportunity to reauthorize the FAA to make certain NextGen is adequately funded for implementing key programs.”
Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
“As we work to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, I'm going to push the FAA to accelerate the modernization of the nation's air traffic control system. The antiquated system we're currently using doesn't allow for improvements in safety, congestion, or environmental impact of aviation. On the critical issue of safety, and we have seen with the tragic crash of Flight 3407 in Buffalo, there is a pressing need to make sure our aviation infrastructure provides safety for our passengers. I'm going to hold a hearing on aviation safety in early June."
Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Chairman of Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee
“U.S. commercial aviation ultimately drives more than $1 trillion per year in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs. By any measure, the U.S. airline industry is a valuable national asset and its continued economic health should be a national priority.”
Mr. Jim May, President and Chief Executive Officer, Air Transport Association of America
“One of the many hardships that the post-9/11 era brought to airline flying was pilots flying right up to the FAA regulatory limit. This has resulted in adverse safety impacts, fatigue, and more stress. Sixteen-hour domestic duty days are facts of life for many airline pilots.”
Captain John Prater, President, Air Line Pilots Association International
“The aviation industry is at a crossroads. Thirty years of airline deregulation, reckless management decisions and more than a hundred bankruptcies have left it hobbled. Airline workers have shouldered more than their fair share to help revitalize their employers and their industry.”
Mr. Robert Roach, Jr., General Vice President – Transportation, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
“U.S. air carriers have ever-increasing amounts of significant maintenance performed on their aircraft by FAA-certified foreign repair stations or their contractors that are not subject to the same safety and security standards as domestic repair stations. This trend has eroded passenger safety, increased homeland security risk, and decimated a skilled workforce of American aircraft mechanics.”
Mr. Ken Hall, Vice President at Large, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
“Over the past several years, labor-management relations within the FAA have been largely dysfunctional. This has resulted in low employee morale, stressful working conditions and overwhelming tension between labor and management—all of which impact the productivity of FAA employees and the efficiency of the aviation system.”
Mr. Tom Brantley, President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists