A seat at the table

General aviation was represented when the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) joined others from across the aviation spectrum at a Nov. 12 forum convened by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, at which he announced the creation of a Federal Advisory Committee on the Future of Aviation.

“The decision to create this advisory panel is a positive indication that Secretary LaHood and the Department of Transportation are actively seeking stakeholder input in shaping the future of our air transport system,” said AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller, who attended the forum on behalf of the association. “While the details of the committee have not yet been formalized, AOPA is pleased to be included in the process and we remain committed to being at the table to represent the interests of the general aviation community as the administration develops its agenda.”

The invitation called the forum an opportunity for aviation leaders, “to begin a dialogue about the health and future competitiveness of U.S. aviation.” Fuller and the other attendees took part in three sessions: Assessing the current state of the industry with representatives from the airlines, airports, labor, aviation analysts and consumer groups; shaping the future of the industry, focusing on the environment, financial viability, outsourcing and globalization; and areas for future work.

LaHood’s invitation summed up the importance of the discussion and the advisory committee, according to AOPA officials.

“Without a financially strong aviation industry, we will be unable to compete in domestic and international commerce and also could fall behind in addressing our infrastructure needs, including transitioning to NextGen. We must begin this important conversation in order to ensure a viable, competitive U.S. aviation industry.”

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