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Secretary Mineta Unveils Future Vision for Air Transportation

(December 15, 2004, Washington, DC)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta today formally unveiled the Integrated National Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System calling it "a blueprint that will lead to the transformation of America's air transportation network" and "an exciting future where even the sky may not be the limit."

Joined at a well-attended press conference at DOT Headquarters by Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy Jeffrey N. Shane, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, and NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Technology Dr. J. Victor Lebacqz, Secretary Mineta detailed the plan's strategic business goals and objectives.

He said that the nation now has a framework in place to help "deliver a system with the capacity to allow travelers to choose how, where, and when they want to travel while making their experience as safe, secure, and hassle free as possible."

Undersecretary Shane said that although he is not a futurist, "I do know that there will be a lot more operations in the system under any scenario you can envision. Government has one overarching responsibility in that connection and that's to make sure that the system that is in place by the time we triple the number of operations has the wherewithal to accommodate it. If we fail to accommodate the demand that we know the system is going to put upon us, we will have failed in our obligation to ensure that we encourage economic growth as efficiently as possible. That is why what we're here to announce today is such a big deal."

FAA Administrator Blakey said that "the lesson for all of us in aviation is that the horizon is much closer than it looks." She went on to emphasize that "this plan not just about the horizon. It's not just about the year 2025…. It also meant to make a difference in the way we're working right now." The Administrator observed that the NGATS initiative "pulls together our work on three different levels" some of which is already underway, such as the FAA's Flight Plan and the Operational Evolution Plan and the ongoing work of the JPDO. She said that the NGATS "advances what we're doing in the Flight Plan" and will continue "to reinforce this remarkable period of safety we're experiencing in aviation."

Dr. J. Victor Lebacqz brought a message from NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe who said, "NASA is proud to participate in this first-of-its-kind multi-agency effort. Nothing is as important to the future of our economy and our quality of life as transforming the air transportation system to meet future needs." In response to a question, the NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Technology said that the biggest changes that passengers will see in the future system are "reduced curb-to-curb time and transparent security."

Secretary Mineta concluded his remarks with these thoughts: "Designing the air transportation system for aviation's second century is an ambitious undertaking. But then, from the Wright Brothers forward, aviation history has been written by those who were willing to dream big and take on great challenges. The Next Generation plan sets the course as we begin our journey into the second century of aviation. I look forward to sharing that journey with you." Industry members also received a briefing from Secretary Mineta and the other high ranking officials.

For Secretary Mineta's remarks, go to:
For Federal Aviation Administrator Marion C. Blakey's remarks, go to:
For the release from the December 15th press conference go to:

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