FAA Alaska Safety Initiative Live Event

Administrator Stephen M Dickson (August 12, 2019 - present)

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Good morning everyone, and thank you for taking the time to be here with us today. 

I want to start by recognizing the Alaska aviation stakeholders and the FAA team who contributed a great amount of time and effort over the past year to create a concrete plan for improving safety for everyone who flies in Alaska. 

I’ve learned a lot of things in my four decades as an aviation professional. One of them is that safety cannot be dictated from above—it must be a partnership.

Our Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative is a true partnership, in every sense of the word. 

We teamed up with the flying community to develop this comprehensive blueprint for our future safety work. The recommendations in the initiative’s final report are from the people who fly here every day, and who operate the airports that are lifelines for communities throughout the state.

The seriousness with which the flying community took this effort was clear from the start. More than 100 stakeholders attended a May 2021 virtual meeting when we presented the FAA’s current and planned safety efforts in Alaska. 

Throughout the spring and summer, we hosted a dozen more virtual meetings with pilots, trade associations, airports, and state officials to get their thoughts on what we’re currently doing and what else we should be doing.

Now, because of this partnership, we have a set of thoughtful, specific recommendations about how to improve safety in this state, where more than 80 percent of communities are accessible only by air travel. 

Among these recommendations are increasing and improving weather data reporting and forecasting, expanding Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast air-traffic control to more areas, and improving navigation charting. The report also identifies and urges the continuation of successful FAA initiatives, including the system of 230 weather cameras spread throughout the state. 

While stakeholder input was the foundation of this effort, we also received – and continue to receive - important support from Alaska’s congressional delegation. 

Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Sullivan, and Rep. Young have been important partners in this effort so far—and we are going to need their continued partnership to make sure that the FAA has the resources to get this important work done. 

The report that we’re here to discuss today is just a starting point. Now that we have recommendations in hand, we are developing a detailed roadmap for implementing them, focusing first on the initiatives with the greatest safety benefits. 

We expect to complete the draft roadmap in early 2022, and we will seek stakeholder feedback. Meanwhile, we will continue initiatives that are already underway while incorporating aspects of the new initiatives by summer 2022. 

I know that our shared commitment to make flying safer for everyone in Alaska will not waiver. And we get this work done as an ongoing, transparent, and collaborative process.

Thank you.