Good afternoon. I am delighted to be with all of you today in exciting Las Vegas, here at the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association's (PAMA) Annual Awards Luncheon and 33rd Annual Symposium. I am pleased to be here representing Board Chairman Ellen Engleman Conners and the entire staff of the National Transportation Safety Board. I know Ellen was really looking forward to being here at this important gathering, but unfortunately due to an unforeseen meeting, which required her attendance, you now have to settle for me.
Let me begin by first congratulating those of you who are receiving awards today, amongst whom is one of the NTSB's most renowned, respected and loved Members.my friend and colleague, John Goglia. John will be honored by you as the recipient of the PAMA/Flight Safety Foundation's prestigious Joe Chase Award. This award recognizes outstanding personal achievement in improving the knowledge, safety, and dignity of the Aircraft Technician. I agree with PAMA's awards committee, I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this great industry accolade than John Goglia. John has served more than 30 years in the aviation industry and holds the unique distinction of being the first, and at least until now, the only Member of the Board to hold an FAA aircraft mechanic's certificate. Clearly you selected a most worthy and kindred spirit. John my heart felt congratulations.
I would also like to congratulate all of the members of your great organization for their significant efforts in furthering aviation maintenance safety. PAMA with its primary mission, "to enhance professionalism and recognition of the Aviation Maintenance Technician.for continuous improvement in aviation safety." is clearly a partner with us and the other safety advocates and organizations, standing shoulder to shoulder, as we pursue our mutual goal of making the professional aviation maintenance community accident free.
As you may know, the mission of the NTSB is to investigate accidents in all modes, find probable cause and issue safety recommendations to prevent future accidents, or in other words, improve safety. Although our roles and responsibilities are different, our ultimate objectives are the same - improve safety. We will know we have all succeeded when we never have to see each other outside of these types of wonderful awards ceremonies and symposia and of course on pleasant social occasions. Through our collective efforts, we will continue our noble work in closing the safety loop to a point where mistakes will not and cannot not pass through, and maintenance related accidents are totally eliminated.
The aviation industry is a remarkably dynamic resilient industry. I think this has been particularly demonstrated in this post 9-11 era. Bankruptcies, increased competition and higher fuel prices are forcing companies to look for ways to save money. Airlines today are under a great deal of pressure to reduce costs. I certainly understand the importance of making a profit. It is one of the basic economic concepts that has helped to make our nation great. But I will not and cannot accept a philosophy that an airline or small operator can cut corners in maintenance and or operations in order to make that profit.
Unfortunately in my job at the Board, I have seen too many final reports on aircraft accidents dealing with major contributing factors such as poor maintenance work practices, inadequate training, supervision, or oversight; as well as insufficient quality assurance. These are critical safety issues and cannot be overlooked or perceived as potential cost saving areas. The history books of commercial aviation have too many company names, which are no longer in business. Some of which unfortunately looked for shortcuts in safety and maintenance. Those are the ones that either the FAA or the marketplace changed their business status.
Overall, I am proud of this great industry for all of its tremendous efforts and achievements in making flying the safest major mode of transportation. It's made up of talented, dedicated professionals who design, manufacture, and pilot, maintain and manage the equipment and businesses that together we call aviation.
In closing, I applaud the work of PAMA and its membership in their efforts to raise the bar of professionalism and safety in the important field of aviation maintenance. I'm looking forward to visiting your exhibit hall, where I'll have the opportunity to see first hand some of the latest innovations in tools and technologies and in particular your maintenance Olympics. I love your name for the individual competitors, TechnAthelates. I wish all of the participants good luck and have an enjoyable and productive conference.