|Les 20 derniers discours publiés concernant l'air et l'espace!|
|Statement of J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator|
|J. Randolph Babbitt, FAA|
Before the House Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development on the Federal Aviation Administration's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget
Good morning, Chairman Latham, Ranking Member Pastor and members of the subcommittee. Thank you very much for the opportunity to discuss the Administration’s budget request for the Federal Aviation Administration for Fiscal Year 2012.
Everyone at the FAA is committed to continuing to run the safest and most efficient air space system in the world.
I want to address upfront some recent safety events that have been in the news so you know exactly what action we are taking.
Last Friday, a Southwest Airlines aircraft suffered a breach of the hull of one of their aircraft. The investigation is ongoing and we are working with the NTSB. The professional crew – both pilots and flight attendants – did an outstanding job landing the aircraft and caring for the passengers. Our air traffic controllers were critical in facilitating the safe and rapid descent of that airplane.
Yesterday, we issued an airworthiness directive to require enhanced inspections of early generation 737 aircraft after they reach certain flight cycle limits. This is to ensure the continued safe operation of the fleet.
The FAA has worked diligently over the last twenty years to develop a program dedicated to ensuring the safety of aging aircraft.
As a result of thorough research, we have put in place stringent requirements to prevent fatigue damage that encompass both aircraft design and maintenance. As part of this effort, just six months ago, we also issued a widespread fatigue damage rule to proactively address additional required maintenance actions to further ensure the safety of older aircraft.
Friday's event was very serious. I want to make absolutely certain that what we learn from this accident gets incorporated into our requirements for reviewing aging aircraft. Therefore, I am asking my team to review our aging aircraft program to ensure we are asking the right questions and taking full advantage of all available data. I want the traveling public to be assured that the system and the airplanes they fly in meet the highest levels of safety.
I also want to address the issue of the air traffic controller who failed to perform his duty at Reagan National Airport last month. As I have said, I was personally outraged by the lapse and that controller has been suspended from operational duties. Furthermore, we have taken several steps to ensure that a similar incident will not happen.
We have placed a second controller on the midnight shift at Reagan National.
During the overnight shifts, I have also directed controllers to contact their counterparts at selected facilities prior to transferring aircraft control to confirm that there is a controller ready to handle the incoming flight.
I have also ordered a nationwide review of the air traffic control system to confirm that the appropriate backup procedures and equipment are in place and in use.
We staff our towers based on the level of air traffic that is handled, as well as other operational concerns such as national security and defense.
A preliminary analysis of selected airports shows that we may need to shift schedules, add equipment or redeploy personnel at some towers to achieve the appropriate coverage. We will work with NATCA and Congress to reach final decisions.
I am determined we will not repeat this unacceptable incident.
Aviation is an economic engine for our country. We move passengers. We move freight. And we ensure that our economy remains competitive and prosperous.
As a former airline pilot and a former businessman, I want taxpayers to know that the money in this budget will be well spent.
I want to share with you the business case for this budget request.
We are facing a pivotal time in aviation history. We are transforming to NextGen – moving from ground-based radar to satellite-based navigation. Air travel will be more precise, safer, more efficient and more environmentally-friendly. We need to embrace this opportunity and lead the way.
The president’s 2012 budget request is designed to maintain and enhance operational safety and to invest in infrastructure and technology. In doing this we will improve efficiency, reduce our environmental impact and create thousands of good jobs.
Our budget contains limited discretionary increases and emphasizes cost efficiency. We are taking a good hard look at are organizational structure and making changes to create a more streamlined and efficient agency.
As NextGen changes the way the whole world manages air traffic, we are transforming the way we do business at the FAA to embrace it.
NextGen makes safety sense. It makes business sense. It gets passengers where they want to go more quickly. It cuts fuel burn. And most importantly, it pays for itself with a very positive rate of return.
Delaying infrastructure investments means that the long term cost to our nation – to our passengers and our environment – will far exceed the cost of going forward with the technology today.
Some airlines are already capitalizing on this. They have done the math and have seen the business case for equipping for NextGen. They are capturing real dollar savings.
The infrastructure of the future is going to be a marriage of NextGen procedures with our airports, runways, airlines and flight crews. This budget supports the airport grant program, which enhances the safety, efficiency and capacity of our aviation system.
This budget also pays for safety inspectors who are going to inspect the latest generation of innovative aircraft that Americans are building. We don’t want to be the choke-point in the assembly line. We want to certify aircraft, equipment and procedures to keep aviation’s economic engine running.
I sincerely ask for your support in helping the men and women of this agency perform the tasks they so proudly handle day in and day out.
Thank you and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
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