Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks Upon Signing Bill Extending the Federal Airports Act

March 11, 1964

I am glad to approve this legislation which will extend the Federal Airport Program 3 more years.

Three years ago we had begun to phase out this program, but it was soon clear that without a strong airport development program, commerce and industrial growth would be handicapped.

During the past 3 years, the air transportation industry has revived, going from the largest deficit in the history to the largest profit in their history.

Air service has improved. Air fares have been reduced. There have been fewer accidents than ever before. Labor and management have worked together to achieve remarkable peace and productivity in the industry.

This is one of our most important programs. The industry is setting new records for growth each day. For instance, last year the traffic carried by airlines was about 15 percent higher than the preceding year. It is now estimated that it will increase an additional 50 percent by 1970.

With this growth comes new demands upon the airports to assure the safety of their passengers. In a world that is shrunk by the jet and compressed by speed, there are fewer tasks that demand our attention more than really improving air transportation.

This legislation lets us view future air challenges with more confidence and greater flexibility.

I am very happy to see so many of my old friends from the Congress here this morning who have played such a vital part in the passage of this legislation. All of them made contributions one way or the other, but I particularly want to congratulate not just the Members of Congress but specifically Senator Magnuson and Senator Monroney, and Congressman Harris who is not able to be with us this morning, on this legislation and to express my confidence and pay a tribute to Administrator Halaby for his great knowledge and enlightened viewpoint in this field and for the outstanding leadership that he not only provides this Nation and aviation but that he supplies to other nations throughout the world.

I am happy that you could be here, and I would like to ask the Members of Congress who have played such a part in bringing this bill to the point where it is now to come into my office after we have finished here and let me have a little personal visit with you. You may not think so, but I really do miss that Hill.

Mr. Halaby tells me there are some officials of the National Association of State Aviation Officials here this morning. We are very happy to welcome you and thank you for the contribution that you have made in connection with this very important piece of legislation.

Note: The President spoke at 11:30 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In the course of his remarks he referred to Senator Warren G. Magnuson of Washington, Senator A. S. Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, Representative Oren Harris of Arkansas, and Najeeb E. Halaby, Administrator, Federal Aviation Agency.

As enacted, the bill amending the Federal Airport Act is Public Law 88-280 (78 Stat. 158).

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks Upon Signing Bill Extending the Federal Airports Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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