Transportation Officials Discuss Aviation Safety, Manufacturer Compliance Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the Biden Administration released their fiscal budget for 2025, which includes nearly $110 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). 

The funding request comes after a series of aviation incidents and concerns surrounding compliance issues with Boeing. 

“Every time I step off a jet bridge and onto an airliner, which is every few days, I know that the reason why American aviation is the safest means of travel in the world is the work that is done by the FAA, by flight crews, by everybody who’s involved in that process,” said Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “And it’s the result of an attitude that doesn’t just wait for a fatal incident to happen and respond, but even responds to close calls with the intensity that America used to reserve for responding to a fatal incident.” 

This week, transportation and aviation officials reassured the flying public that American aviation is safe. Recent in-flight incidents have fueled concerns over a lack of transparency and accountability with aviation manufacturers.  

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Whittaker said the agency is doing everything in its power to crack down on loopholes and compliance issues for aviation manufacturers. 

“We’ve dramatically increased our oversight of the actual production of the aircraft,” said Whittaker, who has served in the top role of the FAA since October 2023. 

A recent FAA audit into Boeing’s 737 production process found that the company failed 33 of 89 sections. It also found 97 instances of alleged non-compliance. 

“The Administrator’s leadership has been really critical to making clear to Boeing that they need to go through a serious transformation here,” said Secretary Buttigieg.  

“The safety concerns that have been raised are real,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R- NY), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Subcommittee on Aviation. 

Molinaro says recent events have brought increased transparency for companies like Boeing but adds that more can be done. 

“However, passengers, consumers across the globe need to know that we’re doing everything in our power to demand and ensure safety in the air,” said Molinaro. 

Molinaro is confident with the new FAA leadership and hopes the agency will meet the needs of American aviation, like hiring more air traffic controllers. 

“The field still struggles. The FAA needed new leadership. It has competent, capable leadership,” said Molinaro. “And I’m hopeful that they make an earnest effort to ensure that we’re growing the workforce to meet the needs of American aviation,” Molinaro added. 

Included in the President’s $109.3 billion funding request for DOT is $21.8 billion for the FAA. With the funding, the FAA plans to hire at least 2,000 air traffic controllers, make a $3.6 billion investment to sustain the National Airspace System and make an $8 billion commitment over five years to invest in aviation safety, efficiency, and facilities, including facility replacement and radar modernization. 

“It’s going to help keep air traffic safe by hiring and equipping the FAA professionals who do that,” said Buttigieg.