Release #11.30
September 15, 2011

Another FAA Extension Means the Future of U.S. Aviation Remains in Limbo
Long-Term Funding Essential to Aviation Safety

WASHINGTON–Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), issued this statement today after action by Congress to pass a 22nd short-term extension of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding.

“It is unconscionable that Congress has been unable to enact a long- term multi-year funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result, the FAA—and the American public—remains in a holding pattern, unable to plan or make key decisions to implement critically needed aviation infrastructure and safety improvement programs. The safety and growth of the U.S. air transportation system is at risk.

“I urge lawmakers to remain engaged in bringing about a final multi-year bill now, and not wait until the 22nd extension is about to expire to address this legislation again. We need to stay at the negotiating table and get this bill done now for the safety of our traveling public.

“Airline pilots take extremely seriously our responsibility to fly passengers and cargo safely through inclement weather, congested airspace, and other challenging environments. We count on a modern air traffic control system, but we don’t currently have the new technology and updated equipment we need—or that passengers and shippers expect—in the U.S. air transportation infrastructure.

“U.S. efforts to modernize its air traffic control system to achieve capacity and efficiency gains are on hold without long-term FAA funding. The lack of long-term reauthorization threatens efforts to address critical aviation issues such as ‘NexGen’ air traffic control, wake turbulence, alternative fuels, wind shear warning systems, and volcanic ash, as well as working to make aircraft operations safer while increasing system capacity and ensuring airline growth and profitability.

“Updating the air traffic control system will not only enhance aviation safety, it will also position the U.S. airline industry to match competitors in Asia and Europe as they continue to advance their systems. While Congress drags its feet on a long-term reauthorization, other countries are pursuing new technology to provide more passengers and cargo shippers with the safest and most efficient air transportation possible.

“We call on the U.S. House of Representatives to follow the actions of the U.S. Senate and name their committee conferees so that a final long-term reauthorization bill can be developed and passed.

“Between the critical research that helps guarantee the safety of the traveling public, the urgent need to modernize, and the risk to our country’s competitiveness, Congress cannot move quickly enough to immediately provide the FAA with comprehensive, long-term funding.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or