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Sat, Sep 23, 2017

Huerta Lauds NACC Teamwork In Face Of Adversity

Reaffirmed FAA's Commitment To Assist In Recovery Efforts

In his final speech before ICAO’s North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACC) Directors of Civil Aviation meeting, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta drove home the importance of working together in the face of natural disasters that have caused so much devastation in recent weeks.

“The 2017 hurricane season already has devastated too many of our nations. As if that wasn't enough, our friends in Mexico were struck by two deadly earthquakes as well,” Huerta said at the NACC meeting in Washington. “Some of our attendees here today have family in Mexico City, where the extent of this week’s quake is still being determined. Please know all of our thoughts are with you during this trying time.

“These moments of tragedy bind us together,” Huerta said. “We grieve for the lives lost. We comfort the displaced. And we vow to rebuild. We are neighbors. What happens to one of us affects us all.”

Huerta reaffirmed the FAA’s commitment to help the region as a whole to recover. The agency has continued to support efforts to get all Florida airports back to full operations – including those in the Florida Keys. The FAA brought one mobile air traffic control tower to Key West from Connecticut by truck earlier this week to replace the damaged tower there, and airlifted another mobile tower from Boise, Idaho to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands last week to manage relief flights to and from the island. The agency also sent an airports inspector to St. Martin last week to help assess the readiness of the airfield for non-military relief flights.

In addition, the FAA has issued hundreds of unmanned aircraft authorizations to aid in the response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and anticipates issuing more for the area damaged by Maria in the next few days. Drones are being used to quickly and safely assess damage to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. They help target and prioritize recovery activities.

“The NACC meeting gives us an opportunity to come together, share ideas, and find new ways to work together toward our common goals,” Huerta said. “But what is even more important is that we can use this meeting to reaffirm our partnerships and ask for and receive the assistance that is needed from one another.”

Huerta added, “As my time as FAA Administrator is drawing to a close, let me say what a privilege it’s been to work with all of you over the years.  We should all be proud of the work that we do to ensure that travelers can continue to take it for granted that they will arrive safely at their destinations. The work we do every day makes that happen and we are successful because we do it together.”

(Source: FAA news release)



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