During day two of the U.S. government shutdown, 15,000 FAA employees were still off the job on furlough and the business aviation community appears to have found the early impact of the closure to be greater than anticipated with disruption to several important FAA functions that were not impacted by previous Federal government shutdowns.
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.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) yesterday that would regulate “air charter brokers.” The agency says it is undertaking this action “to protect consumers, ensuring that consumers of single-entity charter air transportation have adequate information about the operator of chartered aircraft and enumerating certain prohibited unfair and deceptive practices by air taxis and commuter air carriers.”
Members of Congress drifted back to Capitol Hill last month after spending most of August and the first week in September on their annual summer vacations. Talk immediately turned to the situation in Syria and the specter of another round of sequestration.
One of the major orders of business they faced–with the September 30 end of the 2013 fiscal year looming–was how to fund the government for FY2014. One of the first tasks was approval of a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating beyond October 1.
Prominent aviation industry figures fear that a list of priorities developed to keep the NextGen ATC modernization effort on track during a time of funding pressure and ongoing “sequestration” budget cuts in the U.S. could undermine the ambitious, two-decade effort.
The general assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) this week will debate proposals for a global market-based mechanism (MBM) to control the increase in carbon-dioxide emissions from air transport. As an interim measure aimed at reaching consensus, negotiators for the 28-state European Union (EU) have offered to alter its existing emissions trading scheme (ETS) so that it would apply only to flying activity within EU airspace and not to all stages of intercontinental flights.
Even as the presence of helicopter OEMs doubled in India (to 10 from five), double-digit growth in its civil helicopter fleet in the seven years preceding 2011 gave way to negative growth last year when the fleet reduced from 293 to 266.
High operational costs, exacerbated by a depreciated rupee that fell 35 percent in the past 40 months, are posing challenges for the industry. “It’s a cumulative result of lack of optimum utilization, safety performance, infrastructure constraints and regulatory issues,” said K. Sridharan, president of the Rotary Wing Society of India (RWSI).
As Janet Napolitano departs Washington for sunnier climes in California, some names have begun to surface on her replacement as Secretary of Homeland Security. One of those mentioned is Boston police commissioner Edward Davis.
Congress left Washington for its annual break without taking any action on FAA funding for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins October 1. Many other government agencies–including the rest of the Department of Transportation–also are awaiting appropriations.
Flying commercially using a single-engine aircraft under instrument flight rules (SECIFR) or at night may be taken for granted in the U.S., but it has not been possible in Europe–until now. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has cracked the door open–first for cargo operators and more recently, in the past few months, for flights carrying fare-paying passengers. It has left the decision to individual countries’ regulators, however, and France and Finland have taken the lead.
While the FAA mandate to install ADS-B OUT equipment for aircraft flying in U.S. airspace by Jan. 1, 2020 (above 10,000 feet or in Class B or C airspace) is more than six years away, aircraft operating in some countries’ airspace must be compliant starting in December.