Expresses Confidence In Boeing At Aero Club Of Washington, D.C.
In a speech delivered to the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that "Today the American aviation industry is strong, and it’s getting stronger. More people are flying, and more cargo is being shipped around the world."
LaHood (pictured) said that the aviation industry has seen a remarkable turnaround from where it was just a few years ago. "In 2008, U.S. airlines were in the red. Today, they’re making money," LaHood said. "This progress is in large part a result of the people in this room. And I thank you for doing your part. The future looks bright—opportunities for American aviation are growing."
LaHood said that NextGen is no longer on the horizon, it's "happening now. As part of our Metroplex initiative, flights approaching the Washington DC area started using satellite routes in August and immediately began saving fuel and emissions. The new routes will save $2.3 million in fuel costs in the first year of operation.
"Today our new air traffic management system is used by air traffic controllers in more than 50 percent of the country. Four years ago, we had a lot of work ahead of us to make this happen—but now it’s a reality.
"And today, we have made significant progress installing the ground based infrastructure that is critical to NextGen.
"By the end of this year, we plan to have more than 90 percent of the ground radio stations in place that will receive satellite information. This will improve the safety and efficiency of how we control aircraft."
LaHood also expressed confidence in "Boeing's ability to create a safe aircraft," but said the issues with the batteries will have to be resolved before the Dreamliner can be put back into service. "We are working diligently with Boeing to figure out the problem and to find a solution," the Secretary said. "Our goal is to get this done as quickly as possible, but we must be confident that the problems are corrected before we can move forward.
"Our job at DOT is to ensure the safety of the flying public, and that’s exactly what we’re doing," he said.