U.S. Chamber Holds Annual Aviation Summit

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(Photo – Participating in a panel discussion on ATC are from left, Ed Bolen, NBAA, Eamonn Brennan, Ireland Aviation Authority, John Crichton, NAV Canada and Jeff Smisek, United Airlines. Robert Crandall was moderator. Photo by Kim Stevens.)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation held its 14th Annual Aviation Summit – Flight Path 2015, The Future of Space and Aviation in the Global Economy – on Tuesday attracting more than 700 guests and 30 chief executives. Each year the Chamber presents the forum that brings together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss issues impacting the industry.

Reauthorization was one of those issues and leading the way with his idea of a transformational bill was Congressman Bill Shuster, Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Shuster, who called the FAA a vast bureaucracy, said they started discussing reauthorization 15 months ago. He said that we need to take action and that we can’t settle for status quo. “That’s not the way to go,” said Shuster, who acknowledged that it’s going to be tough. He added that the committee will continue to work with stakeholders to find the sweet-spot.

Continuing the discussion on Reathorization was a panel consisting of Kevin Burke, President and CEO of ACI-NA, Sharon Pinkerton, Senior Vice President of A4A, James Burnley, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Stephen Alterman, President of the Cargo Airline Association. Although the panel discussed various aspects of the bill, a debate on PFCs between Burke and Pinkerton took up much of the allotted time.

Other panel discussions included the topics of Open Skies, Manufacturing, ATC and Space. This year’s Carol B. Hallett Award was presented to Gordon Bethune, former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Continental Airlines.