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Alaska aviation industry defining new safety and access goals

Rob Stapleton

The Alaska Aviation Coordination Council is defining the future of Alaska aviation by creating an updated five-year vision for the industry.

A group of 10 aviation industry officials met on Dec. 8 in Anchorage to rewrite its priorities for the next five years.

The AACC includes representatives from aviation stakeholders around Alaska that include the Federal Aviation Administration, the State of Alaska Department of Transportation, the Alaska Air Carriers Association, the Alaska Airmen's Association, Alaska Airports Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, airlines and other state and federal departments that include the military.

The goal of the council is for FAA, state, and industry leaders in Alaska to work together and share information on aviation-related safety initiatives for the state.

The object of the meeting, according to its organizers, is to craft a new agenda for the AACC to meet the group's vision statement to provide safe reliable and efficient access to Alaskan communities for all Alaska residents and visitors.

With dozens of stakeholders who are responsible for creating and maintaining the $5 billion statewide industry the group clarified priorities for the following areas:

-- Ground infrastructure
-- Airborne infrastructure
-- Airports
-- Airspace
-- Management, operation and maintenance
-- Research and development

The group defined its new priorities to further improve aviation safety and access across the state. The new vision included some new emphasis specifically aviation education outreach to Alaska's youth.

"We need to address what will become the biggest pilot shortage we have ever experienced due to new FAA flight hour work rules and pilots retiring out of the system," said Leonard Kirk, assistant director of the UAA aviation technology program.

With declining state and federal revenues, the industry is concerned about infrastructure improvements and maintenance, according to Tom George, AOPA's Alaska regional representative and a member of the AACC.

The AACC will submit its new strategic vision for 2010-2015 after the group approves the new vision statement agenda sometime in January 2011. For more information, contact AACC secretary Val Jokela at (907) 271-5292.

Contact Rob Stapleton at robstapleton(at)alaska.net.