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To be clear, the legislation pending in Congress isnít perfect. But it will significantly improve safety in our skies as well as maintain and, in places, accelerate modernization programs that will help America uphold its position as the world leader in safety and innovation.
Air travel is the safest form of transportation. Thanks to our nationís air traffic controllers, pilots, flight attendants, aviation safety inspectors and technicians and the diligence of U.S. airlines, Americans are able to travel reliably to more places and with less effect on the environment on airplanes than on any other type of transit.
But the past decade has been hard on our aviation system. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, shut down our air system when it was already experiencing serious financial trouble. Since then, the industry has lost $55 billion and 150,000 jobs.
The strain on our system, its employees and our 757 million annual air travelers has been immense. That is why it is more important than ever that Congress pass a long-term FAA reauthorization bill.
Without it, aviation wonít expand and our competitiveness in the global marketplace will suffer. Foreign airlines, which are elaborately backed by their governments, are already cutting deeply into a realm that the U.S. once dominated.
Americaís aviation safety professionals want nothing more than to ensure traveler safety. Thatís why Congress must lay aside its difference and stop passing self-defeating, temporary solutions and come up with a multiyear FAA reauthorization bill.
The risks are too great and the stakes are too high to do otherwise.
Tom Brantley is president of Professional Aviation Safety Specialists. Lee Moak is president of the Air Line Pilots Association International. Paul Rinaldi is president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Veda Shook is international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA.