Yesterday (Nov. 30), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce testified before the Aviation Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The hearing, titled “Turbulence Ahead: Consequences of Delaying a Long-Term FAA Bill,” addressed the importance of providing funding and leadership stability within the Federal Aviation Administration.
GAMA was among a number of general aviation advocacy groups that posted a letter to the subcommittee on the topic of FAA funding. The other groups included the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
In his opening statement, Bunce praised the subcommittee for its bipartisan approach to finally securing the appointment of a congressionally confirmed FAA Administrator, Michael Whitaker. He also clarified the challenges the FAA and other aviation-related government agencies face during extended continuing resolutions and extensions involving government funding. Bunce pointed out that the instability these disruptions create negatively affects industry, as well as the ongoing safety and efficiency of the nation’s air transportation system, especially within the FAA.
Bunce said, “They need the stability and the resources to be able to complete the task of addressing the issues.” While acknowledging the challenges imposed by the long-standing need for a permanent FAA Administrator, he added, “There was also a domino effect. We had many of the positions within the FAA as acting positions. That’s now sorted itself out. With Mr. Whitaker being in place, we can now move forward on fixing a lot of the issues.”
Bunce also addressed how a clogged certification process that slows the approval of new technology threatens not only aviation safety, but also the international dominance of the U.S. aerospace industry and regulatory infrastructure, the international dominance of which, he said, is being challenged by authorities from other countries.
Bunce concluded, “Getting this bill done is critical to the safety of our nation, but also for our global leadership.”
A copy of Bunce’s full testimony can be found at this link.