Aviation industry leaders are looking eagerly but optimistically at a Sept. 30 deadline for legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., is expected to be one of the key figures in the effort to win congressional approval.
The reauthorization of the FAA was the hottest topic in morning sessions of the inaugural Titus Aviation Symposium on Monday at the National Atomic Testing Museum.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta opened the event, attended by about 200 people, that is addressing the importance of aviation on Southern Nevada’s tourism economy, the coming integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into the nation’s airspace and the role of Nevada’s aviation equipment manufacturers in the process.
Huerta also said the new tower at McCarran International Airport will be turned over to the FAA later this year to be equipped and in operation by next year and he also announced that a public hearing would be scheduled later this year in Southern Nevada to address unmanned aerial vehicle issues.
Virtually every aspect of aircraft operations is tied to the reauthorization of the FAA. The last time Congress reauthorized funding for the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s airspace short-term funding extensions were added 23 times leaving manufacturers, airlines and industry policymakers uncertain about how to pursue long-term big-ticket goals, including the establishment of a next-generation, satellite-based air traffic control system.
Titus, as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee, expects to be in the middle of efforts to approve legislation.
A next-generation system would enable air-traffic controllers to manage airspace more efficiently, adding capacity to the airspace — an important attribute for a destination such as Las Vegas that depends on flights to grow its economy.
The industry has the added burden of dealing with unmanned aerial systems — drones that will have a variety of uses that will increase efficiencies for a number of commercial enterprises.
Industry panelist Christa Fornarotto, vice president of government affairs for the National Business Aviation Association, said in a session Monday morning that Congress hopes to address the FAA reauthorization matter before it adjourns for the July Fourth midsummer break.
This is a developing news story. Check back here for updates.
Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893. Find @RickVelotta on Twitter.