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Thu, Feb 10, 2011

ALPA: Swift FAA Reauthorization Critical To U.S. Airlines

Modern Infrastructure Will Foster Economic Competitiveness, Safety, And Jobs

In written testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee, ALPA called for the Congress to quickly move a strong FAA reauthorization bill that funds modernizing the national airspace system and enhances safety for all who depend on air transportation.

“FAA reauthorization is the foundation for achieving a modern infrastructure that provides safe and efficient air transportation to drive this country’s economy and create jobs for its citizens,” said Capt. Lee Moak, ALPA’s president (pictured). “ALPA recognizes the FAA’s essential leadership role in setting regulatory standards and conducting oversight over the range of safety issues that affect airline operations. Congress must pass a solid reauthorization bill that well positions the FAA to do its job.”

FAA reauthorization must provide an adequate, stable, and reliable funding stream for NextGen, the modernization initiative to upgrade both ground-based and airborne air traffic control system components. Currently, outmoded equipment and antiquated facilities hobble the efficiency of the U.S. air transportation system, which is already straining to meet demand. Modernizing the nation’s airspace will boost efficiency and build capacity while maintaining or enhancing an already high standard of safety.

In addition, FAA reauthorization holds the potential to advance aviation safety in many critical areas, including bolstering research on issues such as volcanic ash, in-flight icing, wake turbulence, alternative fuels, wind shear, and ways to improve runway safety. The legislation must also continue to fund the operation of Midway and Wake Island airfields as transpacific emergency landing options.

ALPA maintains that FAA reauthorization must also reaffirm that U.S. citizens will continue to control all key operational aspects of U.S. airlines. The legislation should also direct a study of the feasibility of installing cockpit doors on all-cargo aircraft, and it must address the threat that laser attacks pose to airline passengers and crews.

“The actions needed to modernize our airspace system are complicated and expensive, but, given the keen global competition and soaring demand that we know exist, they are an investment in the future that the United States cannot afford to delay,” continued Capt. Moak. “The urgent need to pursue modernization and the safety initiatives contained in the FAA reauthorization bill leave no doubt that Congress must immediately pass this critical legislation.”



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