Former FAA Administrator and current President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, Marion C. Blakey, called for accelerated implementation of FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System and increased U.S. investment in research and development to avoid losing our leadership in aerospace and defense.
“It’s important to properly fund and promote our aerospace and defense industry and the research and development needed to sustain it,” Blakey said at a luncheon hosted by the Aero Club of Washington today.
Blakey also said that it was important for the aerospace industry to underscore the critical role of aerospace and defense in supporting our nation and economy, especially during ongoing budget debates. AIA is launching a campaign called Second to None to ensure that Congress and other officials understand that the industry is a perishable national asset.
“The aerospace and defense industry – which is second to none in the world, represents a smart business decision,” said Blakey. “Our products keep the world’s economy moving, our families safe at home and our troops secure and successful abroad.”
Further identifying the issues that place the industry at a crossroads, she said that half of U.S. aerospace engineers will become eligible for retirement by 2015. In addition, for the first time in 100 years, no new manned military aircraft are in design. Outdated export rules are hampering businesses as well as unmanned aerial systems, which Blakey called “game-changers in this century.”
NextGen will help environmental efforts by saving fuel and reducing emissions. The aviation industry has committed to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020 through the use of NextGen technologies and green fuel alternatives. However, these initiatives require government support, including R&D funding for FAA and NASA.
The entire speech is online at: http://www.aia-aerospace.org/newsroom/speeches_testimony/.