In a last-ditch effort to stop the FAA’s furloughing of air traffic controllers to meet government-wide budget reductions, the House and Senate passed legislation late last week to transfer money from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to pay controllers’ salaries and prevent the closure of some privately operated control towers. Congress quickly moved to relieve the FAA of its need to furlough controllers after just five days of prolonged flight delays at major airports last week.
Regulations and Government
News about bills, laws, regulations and other governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace. Topics include FAA reauthorizations, taxes on fuel and aviation activities, environmental legislation, ICAO decisions, governmental mediation of labor conflicts and World Trade Organization disputes and decisions.
Aviation industry groups in the U.S. and Europe oppose a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plan to establish a customs pre-clearance facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport that would spare passengers the inconvenience of waiting at a customs checkpoint upon arrival in the U.S. A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers also questions the plan and has requested more information from the DHS.
The U.S. Congress moved to relieve the Federal Aviation Administration of its need to furlough air traffic controllers last week after five days of prolonged flight delays at major airports blamed on controller staffing reductions.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is playing a prominent role in shaping the way unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be introduced into the National Airspace System. The Pentagon is already represented on federal interagency and government-industry groups that were formed to facilitate UAS integration with other air traffic in unrestricted airspace. With progress toward that goal lagging and the DOD’s need for airspace access building, the department wants to bring to bear its decades of UAS experience to expedite the process.
Boeing and 787 operators around the world began installing modification kits in their Dreamliners last Friday after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approved the manufacturer’s proposed “fix” to their battery systems.
Business aviation consultant Brian Foley, president of Brian Foley Associates, used an intriguing metaphor to explain the issues effecting Chinese business aviation: “Imagine if there was a 22-percent tariff on imported cars, drivers had to ask permission to drive a day in advance and they could drive only to specified cities via a suboptimal route with few services. Driving to a city not on the approved list would require a ‘navigator’ to ride along.”
With the rapid development of China’s economy, business aviation is viewed by many in the country as a so-called “Blue Ocean industry” with vast potential. As estimated by Embraer in its last market forecast, by 2020 China may represent a market for as many as 635 business jets. Bombardier is even more optimistic, projecting a need for almost 1,000 more business jets in the coming decade.
Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) plan to introduce a bill Wednesday morning intended to prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from closing 149 federal contract tower facilities under budget sequestration, an industry source confirmed to AIN. A companion measure is also expected to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A record 223 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to President Obama opposing his continued support of a $100-per-flight fee on commercial and general aviation. “Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them,” the letter said. “Aviation user fees have been proposed by different Administrations, both Republican and Democrat, and again Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.”
In an effort to deliver operational improvements more quickly, the FAA has made “trade-offs” in establishing performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures that could limit their benefits in the near term, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).