Last month, FAA COO Russell Chew told a standing-room-only audience at the annual conference of the U.S. Air Traffic Control Association that a widening gap between the falling income and rising expenses of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) could reach a cumulative $8.2 billion over the next five years and he said the FAA must take positive actions to close this gap.
Federal Aviation Administration
Last year, the Bush Administration unveiled its proposed “next generation air transportation system” and then cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget request by nearly $400 million.
On March 22 comments are due on draft AC 145-RSTP (Repair Station Training Program). The circular defines the scope and description of the required repair station training manual that is required as the result of new Part 145 regulations. The FAA initially promised the industry that the AC would be available by Aug. 6, 2001, the date the final regulations were published. New FAR 145.163 is scheduled to go into effect April 6.
Members of the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS), the labor union that represents more than 2,700 FAA employees who staff the agency’s automated flight service stations (AFSS), are joining with information technology contractor Harris Corp. in a bid to keep their jobs from being outsourced to a private company.
The FAA’s budgetary woes are but one symptom of the U.S. fiscal freight train that has been speeding down the track with ever greater wobbles since 9/11.
As the result of requests to extend the deadline for comments on the FAA’s proposal to establish regulations governing flights that go beyond certain distances from an adequate airport (extended operations, or ETOPS) by multi-engine airplanes, the FAA has expanded the comment period. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) was published on November 13, and comments were due by January 13. The new comment period extends to March 15.
Revisions to the service difficulty reporting (SDR) requirements in FAR Parts 121, 135 and 145 (air carriers and repair stations) set to have gone into effect on January 16 have been delayed until Jan. 30, 2006. As a result of several unresolved issues raised by the industry, the agency has delayed the effective date of the revisions on four separate occasions since the final rules were adopted on Sept. 16, 2000.
Interested parties will have more time to comment on the FAA’s proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under air carrier regulations. Since the proposal was published last October, the FAA has received more than 1,160 comments, many of them asking for an extended comment period and a public forum.
The FAA is reviewing a proposed noise-compatibility program for Lincoln Airport, Neb., and is expected to issue its findings no later than June 4. The program is being submitted under the guidelines of FAR Part 150, and comments can be submitted until February 9. For more information, call the FAA at (816) 329-2645.
The FAA proposes replacing the current designee program with a new one that expands the functions that designees may perform, permits non-FAA-certified individuals and organizations to become designees and does away with existing designee categories.