The last year or so has been a tough one for aviation, at least from a policy point of view. We had numerous, frustrating short-term extensions of the FAA authorization, adding up to twenty-three in all. One time the Congress couldn’t even agree on an extension and closed the FAA down for a couple of weeks, delaying projects all over the country and resulting in thousands of layoffs.
When a bill was finally passed about the best you could say was that at least we would have some stability. But it will result in less investment in aviation infrastructure and will delay the day when the traveling public will realize the full benefit of NextGen.
What a year! We need to do better.
Here is something Congress can do, right now. Michael Huerta was nominated several months ago for a full five year term as FAA Administrator. When he was nominated I issued a statement strongly supporting his confirmation and I feel that way even more strongly today. The law calls for a five-year term to take this appointment out of the purely political realm, and it should be treated that way. Michael has done a great job leading FAA since being named on an acting basis. He knows the agency and the issues and has the full confidence of the entire aviation community. His work on NextGen is critically important for the future of both airports and airlines.
So, US Senate, please confirm Michael Huerta right away so the FAA and the aviation community can get on with the business of building a twenty-first century air transportation system.