International Aviation

Monday, July 30, 2018

As the global leader in aviation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must engage internationally to increase global safety standards and enhance aviation safety and efficiency. With the U.S. economy and traveling public relying so heavily on global air transportation, we are more committed than ever to strengthening our global leadership and engagement.

The following are key areas of international aviation. 

FAA’s obligations for safety and efficiency
Due to mandates, the FAA globally conducts certain functions for safety in and outside of the United States, such as performing air traffic control handoffs and assessing whether a foreign civil aviation authority complies with international aviation standards. We also inspect repair stations, oversee navigation and infrastructure, set safety standards, and provide oversight around the world for air traffic.

Economics of global aviation
In the United States, the FAA safely guides more than 25 million flights each year, supporting the U.S. aviation industry to drive nearly $1.6 trillion in economic activity, or 5.1 percent, of the entire U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Aviation creates 10.6 million U.S. jobs with more than half funded by visitors (both domestic and international) arriving by air.

The domestic and global aerospace industry contributes to a strong U.S. economy. International flights are increasing, transporting U.S. citizens and airlines to hundreds of destinations and airports around the world. Based on aerospace forecasts, Asia and Africa/Middle East will lead global economic growth from 2018 to 2038, which will result in a consistent increase of passenger travel, particularly between the United States and the Pacific region. Also, economic growth in Latin America will be greater than the world average. 

Long-term international efforts
Over most of the past decade, the international market has been the growth segment for U.S. carriers when compared to the mature U.S. domestic market. This international growth is shifting the geographical center of gravity for aviation in terms of arriving and departing passengers farther east, from North America (the birthplace of aviation) toward Asia Pacific, and the pace of this shift is accelerating. With new longer-range aircraft capabilities and an emerging middle class, more countries are seeking direct flight access to the profitable U.S. market, and they must meet the same safety oversight levels we follow in the United States.

To remain the foremost authority on aviation standards, we must continue to maximize opportunities to engage and redouble our efforts with domestic and international partners to improve safety and increase safety standards.

Innovation and collaboration
As the lead innovator in aviation, the FAA continues to make strides in airspace modernization, unmanned aircraft systems, commercial space transportation, and cybersecurity. We ensure these areas fit into the global system to keep it optimized.

We collaborate with other federal agencies and departments and industry as well as bilateral and regional international partners to set safety and efficiency standards and to develop bilateral agreements. We also work closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Montreal, Canada, which serves as a global forum for international civil aviation. In addition, we maintain a presence at international meetings, conferences, and air shows.

FAA strategic engagements
The FAA carefully prioritizes its international engagements through the Technical Assistance Request Process (TARP).With TARP, we use data to inform our decisions about which foreign countries we will help to advance their air transportation systems. Technical assistance covers the full spectrum of aviation activities including training, flight inspections, equipment, spare parts and repair services, cooperative agreements, and in-country technical assistance duty assignments.

Annually, the FAA provides assistance to about 50 foreign civil aviation authorities. When evaluating a request, we consider the number of U.S. citizens traveling to that country, the number and frequency of American flag air carriers operating in the country, and the need for improved aviation safety standards in that country.

FAA’s Office of International Affairs
Our Office of International Affairs is responsible for coordinating the agency’s international efforts and advancing the nation’s longstanding leadership on the international front. We provide leadership for the agency’s international programs and initiatives for harmonization of global standards, prioritization and coordination of technical assistance and training, and for regional technical and operational collaboration. We do this by coordinating the FAA’s relationships with U.S. government agencies, foreign civil aviation authorities, international organizations, and other international aviation stakeholders and industry.

For a list of staff by country of assignment, view our International Affairs POCs by Country.