Lower Costs Via Aircraft Certification Reform?

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The FAA submitted a report to Congress this week titled Aircraft Certification Process Review Reform, which could ultimately affect the cost of new aircraft, and GAMA has now issued a cautious but positive response. According to GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce, the report is "an important first step" toward improving the efficiency of the certification process. Technological advances are expected to create an increasing demand for product certification. Bunce says the FAA is now publicly committed to "dramatic process improvement" and the agency has worked "diligently" with industry representatives to create metrics that will evaluate progress. But, says Bunce, "much work remains."

According to Bunce, focus will be required to ensure that improvements are made and implemented in a way that bolsters safety and the economic interests of the industry. The FAA's report shows a commonality with those goals and highlights challenges it expects to face in the coming years. According to the FAA, the migration of technologies from large transport aircraft through other categories, fleet-wide safety initiatives, and improvements in materials and technologies will lead to the introduction of new products and require new forms or regulatory oversight. A main thrust of the FAA's reform initiative is its attempt to ensure that future certification processes will be more efficient than old ones. The FAA recognizes that will enable the development of new technology and its adaptation into aircraft. And that, in turn, could increase the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry. The FAA's report is available online, here (PDF).