The basic point--that safety is this DOT's number one priority--cannot be said too many times. However, I think it's important to make one other point very clearly:
The Obama Administration's Federal Aviation Administration is an active and vigilant partner, and we are moving aggressively to put new safety measures in place.
Now, there are two parts to this claim.
One--the new FAA is active and vigilant.
For that look no further than the recent incident where two Northwest Airlines pilots overflew their destination on the way to Minneapolis. The FAA took action immediately, revoking the pilots’ licenses within a matter of days.
Two--the new FAA is a partner, working with key stakeholders to solve aviation problems.
In June, for example, we issued a call to action encouraging all players in the aviation industry-–labor, management, and the FAA--to come together to scrutinize operations, share best practices, and implement actions we know can improve safety.
We held twelve different regional stakeholder meetings over the summer, and this process is going to produce a number of important improvements in the way safety is practiced and managed in the industry:
- A new flight-and-rest rule;
- New guidance on comprehensive crew training; and
- Continued emphasis on greater professionalism across the aviation industry
We cannot say that safety is our highest priority, and then fail to follow through. So you can expect a more proactive FAA.
Look, folks, I travel by air a lot. And I am regularly impressed by the professionalism of the many different crews I see, just as I am impressed by the professionalism of the FAA personnel I've met.
These are people who know that being professional means more than just following the rules-–it means constant attention and taking responsibility for your actions every minute you’re on duty.
As this Administration continues to transform transportation in America, I hope we will all see more of that professionalism--in aviation and in all our transportation activities.