Sustainability and safety are intertwined and one cannot be achieved without the other, said Lirio Liu, the Executive Director of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aircraft Certification Service, at the Sustainable Skies World Summit 2023.

Speaking to FINN, she said: “Safety and sustainability, they’re intertwined. You can’t be prosperous if you’re not safe. So I see that they are intertwined. That’s our primary goal, to make sure that we’re being safe, setting standards for the future regulations that will be defining this mode of transportation.”

New regulation, new entrants

Asked about the challenge of writing new regulation for the emerging sector of alternative propulsion and sustainable aircraft design, Liu said: “It is different, but we also have a regulatory framework that’s flexible. So we’ve got a lot of experience, we have regulations that we can actually pull and adapt and be able to develop what we need so that we can provide the framework for this new mode of transportation.

“I think that we’ll see that it is a timely process, but we are trying to work closely. I think what’s important when we’re doing the regulations is we’re not doing it in isolation. We need to do it in cooperation with the applicants.

“We are also doing it with international coordination, collaboration is a primary goal because having standards that are different would not actually benefit any of us and we’re trying really hard to get close together so that we can provide the right safety standards.”

Type certification and safety

Liu s responsible for type certification, production approval, airworthiness certification, and continued airworthiness of the U.S. civil aircraft fleet – including commercial and general aviation activities.

She oversees a professional workforce of more than 1,400 employees working in FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC, 35 field offices across the U.S., and two international offices located in Belgium and Singapore.
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