Review of the FAA's Progress in Implementing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act

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0 Thursday, May 16, 2013 @ 02:00 |

Summary of Subject Matter

Transcript of Hearing

Opening Statements

Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)

Subcommittee on Aviation

Hearing on Review of FAA’s Progress in Implementing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act

May 16, 2013

Opening Statement

(Remarks as Prepared)

As a follow-up to our February hearing, we are again going to examine what progress the FAA has made in implementing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, called the “Reform Act”, which was signed into law on February 14, 2012.

The Reform Act was passed after five years of short term extensions. It creates a stable, four year framework for the FAA, industry and other stakeholders.  The Act makes important reforms to the aviation system and to the FAA in order to increase efficiency and modernize the system. It ensures that we maintain a safe, modern, and efficient civil aviation system for now and into the future. 

Ensuring implementation of the FAA Reauthorization is, and will remain, a top priority of the Subcommittee. 

NextGen is a central part of the Reform law.  I am fortunate to represent the 2nd Congressional District of New Jersey, which also happens to include the William J. Hughes Technical Center. So I’ve seen firsthand the work that goes on there and I have been able to learn more about why NextGen is important to the FAA, the aviation industry, and the traveling public. 

What has become clear is that we must do more to provide certainty for the FAA and stakeholders, which is why the Reform Act requires the FAA to appoint a Chief NextGen Officer for a term of five years, requires the certification and equipage of “ADS-B In” technology by 2020, and accelerates the deployment of Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures for large, medium, and small airports.

The Reform Act also requires the FAA to include FAA employees, such as air traffic controllers, in the modernization process, and requires the FAA, with input from the industry, to identify operational incentives to encourage the aviation industry to equip with necessary avionics.

The FAA is making progress with some of these efforts, but still has a long way to go with others.  

Since the Subcommittee’s last hearing, the Aviation Subcommittee has held the first in a series of listening sessions broadly focused on the implementation of NextGen.  We were able to hear from industry stakeholders about various issues of concern in the implementation of NextGen air traffic control procedures.

Next week we are holding our second NextGen listening session.  This will give the Subcommittee an opportunity to hear from the FAA and industry stakeholders in a less formal setting.  We of course intend to use what we learn in the listening sessions to help us, industry and the FAA achieve near term, “real world” benefits from NextGen. 

Today I look forward to hearing from Administrator Huerta what the plan is for the FAA to fully implement the Reform Act.  In particular, I am interested in learning how the FAA is complying with the various safety, modernization, reform, and good governance provisions included in the law.

The FAA has had some successes in implementing the Act.  However, similar to NextGen, the FAA has also faced some challenges and is behind on many deadlines.   

Administrator Huerta will testify that the FAA is on track to meet or has met 80% of the deliverables included in the FAA reauthorization law and has currently completed half of them.  But, even he agrees that not all of the reauthorization requirements are created equal. 

The FAA has yet to complete some of the most important and challenging requirements of the law, including the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS’s) integration plan to allow for the safe integration of UAS’s by 2015, the small UAS rulemaking, the facility realignment and consolidation plan, and reforming and streamlining certification processes. 

Completion of these requirements is delayed and I look forward to hearing from Administrator Huerta on when we can expect to see more progress by the FAA.   

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Hon. Michael Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration | Written Testimony

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