The NTSB issued a scathing indictment of the FAA’s oversight of contract maintenance providers, essentially validating a DOT inspector general’s report that again exposed one of the lesser known practices of the U.S. airline industry. The latest report, made public in late February, again pointed to lax FAA scrutiny of a third-party maintenance contractor as one of the main contributors to the January 2003 crash of Air Midwest Flight 5481.
By just about anyone’s reckoning the FAA audit process known as the Air Transport Oversight System (ATOS) has turned into a horribly labor-intensive and time-consuming job. Now, as the agency’s flight standards office loses about 250 employees a year to budget cuts, the onus has fallen squarely on the nation’s regional airlines to pay the bill.
Alaska Airlines is the first air carrier authorized by the FAA to use a new RNP (required navigation performance) approach to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s Runway 19. The airline pioneered RNP procedures–which allow lower minimums–at Juneau International and other airports in Alaska.
Seeking to dispel common misconceptions that the next-generation air transportation system (NGATS) will not provide benefits to users until 2025, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told lawmakers that some aspects of the system are already being used or about to be implemented.
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