Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen took to the airwaves this evening (March 14) with the challenging mission of reassuring airline passengers that it remains safe to fly, even as U.S. aviation officials have begun “to see things that we don’t expect to see,” a clear reference to a string of close calls involving airliners.

In an NBC News interview ahead of the coming Air Safety Summit, Nolen cited the airline safety record and told reporter Lester Holt, “We expect every flight to operate as it should, and so we’ve had these events over the past few weeks. That gives us a moment to say, ‘Let’s stop. Let’s reflect. Let’s ask ourselves the question: Are we missing anything? Is there anything that we should be doing different?’ And remind ourselves always that we can never become complacent and never take this incredible safety record for granted.”

Nolen also addressed the issue of unruly passengers: He said the FAA position is one of “zero tolerance for unruly behavior. And we will indeed use every tool, every resource at our disposal where someone interferes with a cabin or cockpit crew member … We will go for civil penalties and federal prosecution where warranted. My suggestion to you is to stay home because if you act up in flight, we’re going to come after you.”

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