Aviation experts who examined the Federal Aviation Administration’s safety record say the agency needs better staffing, equipment and technology to cope with a surge in the most serious close calls between planes.
The group said Wednesday that the margin of safety in the nation’s airspace is eroding and will get worse if nothing is done.
The outside experts tied most of the FAA’s challenges to inadequate and inconsistent funding. They issued a 52-page report — while Congress raced to avoid a partial government shutdown — and said that the FAA should be insulated from annual funding battles in Washington.
The six-member group was headed by former FAA administrator Michael Huerta and included the most recent past chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents and makes safety recommendations.
“The challenges facing the FAA developed over many years,” Huerta told reporters. “There are no easy, short-term fixes for many of these challenges.”
New FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said the agency will review the panel’s recommendations “to help us pursue our goal of zero serious close calls.”
Whitaker was confirmed last month,