Outgoing FAA Administrator Jane Garvey today said the FAA and the aviation industry must stay focused on safety and modernization, even in the face of national security concerns. Even as she was making her remarks, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta was on Capitol Hill, arguing with members of Congress about security deadlines and funding for security enhancements.
Speaking to a crowd of aviation industry representatives at the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., Garvey pointed with pride to the steps already taken toward modernization the FAA has taken during her five-year tenure. But she warned that neither her successor, nor the agency, nor the aviation industry could afford to let the national obsession with aviation security overwhelm aviation safety and modernization. Her likely successor, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Marion Blakey, was also at today's luncheon.
Garvey praised FAA employees, calling them "the finest work force in government." She said the sense of community among the FAA, the industry, and the users has driven the accomplishments during her five years. "We stopped defining ourselves by our differences and began applying ourselves to our common goals."
Garvey steps down as FAA administrator effective August 4. President Bush has nominated Blakey to fill the post, but the Senate Commerce Committee, which must confirm her nomination, has not yet received the paperwork.