Yesterday, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey delivered the keynote address at the third annual NBAA/European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, and emphasized the need for international cooperation to promote a global aviation system that's safe, efficient, and will help the industry grow. "Aerospace trade between the United States and the European Community exceeds $40 billion," she said. "There's a lot at stake." Blakey also spoke in favor of the European Commission's Single European Sky initiative, which has gained momentum across Europe. "We are encouraged by the potential for a more harmonized and seamless operating environment in Europe," she said. With Europe in transition, leaving behind the old Joint Aviation Authority for the new European Aviation Safety Agency, Blakey asked that the Europeans confer with the U.S. and the International Civil Aviation Authority from the start, to prevent conflict down the road. She also encouraged the Europeans to address aviation's impact on the environment, with regulations addressing noise standards and emissions.
Blakey also told the folks in Geneva that the FAA plans to publish its new final rule addressing fractional ownership in July, and encouraged the Europeans to find innovative ways to deal with practices that drive industry growth even if they create a regulatory nightmare. "Fractional ownership is a trend that evolved naturally, not because it was easy, but because it made economic sense. Fractional ownership is helping this industry grow. ... We have an obligation to adapt to this new business culture," Blakey said. "Fractional ownership is complicated, especially for those of us with safety oversight responsibilities." "If you were to ask any civil aviation authority in the world to draw a model structure for their business aviation industry -- one that fits the mold for their regulatory system -- I can just about guarantee you that it wouldn't look anything like fractional ownership," she said. Blakey added that aviation regulators have an obligation to demonstrate flexibility. Blakey also described her agency's three-year struggle to create the new rules, a process that invited industry participation.
Blakey spoke Tuesday at the Civil-Military Air Traffic Management Conference in Prague, in the Czech Republic. Focusing on airspace management issues, she again promoted international cooperation and procedures standardization, worldwide. "My vision for our future global ATM system," Blakey said, "is one where a pilot can fly into JFK International Airport in New York ... the Eldorado International Airport in Bogota ... or the Ruzyne International Airport here in Prague without any noticeable differences in procedures or the quality of air traffic services. I'm not talking about science fiction. We can do this ... it's within our reach, if we make it a global priority." Blakey said the day is past when agencies can concentrate solely on making their own airspace safer. "We need to embrace our global interdependencies and increase our level of cooperation and information sharing throughout the international aviation community," she said.