Cole Remarks at FY24 Oversight and Budget Hearing for the Federal Aviation Administration (As Prepared)

Apr 26, 2023

The subcommittee will come to order.

Today, we welcome testimony from the Honorable Billy Nolen, Acting Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Administrator Nolen, I understand that you will be leaving the FAA this summer, after serving both as FAA’s chief safety officer and as the head of the agency during a critical and dynamic post-pandemic period.

We’ve seen air travel come roaring back to life, reaching pre-pandemic traffic far more quickly than anyone expected.

But these past several months have also been challenging, from near misses on our runways to the January outage of the Notice to Air Missions System (NOTAMs) that led to the first nationwide ground stop in more than 20 years.

By all accounts, your steady hand and safety expertise have served our nation well during this critical period. I know safety is your number one priority. It is also our number one priority.

We thank you for your service and wish you well in your next chapter. I look forward to working with you during your final months at the FAA, and trust that our hearing today won’t be our last conversation.

The President’s request for FAA is $19.8 billion, a $784 million increase above FY 23. Mr. Nolen, as we develop our FY 24 bill, I intend to work with you and your colleagues at the FAA to ensure that we continue to support the world’s safest, most complex aviation system.

We have witnessed rapid advancements in aviation technologies, transforming our skies in ways that were once unimaginable – from uncrewed aviation systems (UAS), to Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Vehicles (eVTOL), to commercial spacecraft.

Our airspace is about to become more crowded and more complex. We will work together to ensure that these new entrants flourish, while maintaining the highest possible standards of safety and efficiency for over two million commercial air passengers who fly every day.

The aviation sector is an engine of economic growth. Commercial aviation alone contributes more than $1 trillion to our economy.

New aviation technologies promise to fuel even more economic growth and lead to a better quality of life for all Americans. I am particularly excited about the promise of new air transportation opportunities for rural and tribal areas.

Administrator Nolen, I look forward to our discussion today. I am confident that we can work together to support FAA’s critical missions – ensuring the continued safety of our airways and paving the way for innovation and economic growth.

I now recognize the Ranking Member from Illinois, Mr. Quigley, for his opening statement.