Mineta Says New Office Is For Overwatch Of Air Traffic
U.S. Secretary of
Transportation Norman Y. Mineta has announced the establishment of
an office to provide independent safety oversight of the Air
Traffic Organization (ATO). The office's primary responsibility
will be to ensure the safety of changes to air traffic standards
and procedures. The creation of the new Air Traffic Safety
Oversight Service, based within the regulation and certification
organization of the FAA, follows a recommendation of the 1997
National Civil Aviation Review Commission (NCARC) chaired by
"Since the Air Traffic Organization was founded just over three
years ago, the FAA has made great strides in creating a more
flexible, efficient air traffic control system for the traveling
public," Secretary Mineta said.
"This new oversight service will assure that the ATO continues
to operate under the highest possible level of safety."
"This is a new way of doing business," said FAA Administrator
Marion C. Blakey. "This new organization is designed to give us
independent analysis of our air traffic control operations. It will
operate as a second set of eyes to bring us to a new level of
excellence. In terms of safety, efficiency and complexity, the
United States already runs the world's best air traffic control
system. This new oversight group will help us maintain a record
that's second to none."
Secretary Mineta named Dave Canoles, the FAA's current director
for emergency operations and communications, to head the new
office. During his 33-year FAA career, Canoles has served as
manager of the FAA's Eastern Region Air Traffic Division, and
directed the office within Air Traffic that evaluated air traffic
facilities and investigated incidents and accidents.
The establishment of
the Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service responds directly to a
recommendation by NCARC that safety oversight of the FAA's air
traffic function be provided by a separate part of the agency. The
NCARC was established by Congress to examine how the FAA
could improve ways of doing business.
Separately, the International Civil Aviation Organization on
Nov. 1, 2001, also required that its member states, including the
U.S., set up independent oversight of air traffic operations.
Canada, the U.K. and Germany are among the ICAO states
transitioning to similar systems.