Across-the-board federal budget cuts scheduled to begin on March 1 will limit the flight-handling capability of the U.S. National Airspace System and could lead to permanent airport and ATC facility closures, warned the head of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca).
Federal Aviation Administration
In response to recent reports that looming sequestration could delay more than 1,400 ongoing aircraft and parts manufacturing projects and force furloughs for FAA employees, Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) vice president of legislative affairs Daniel Fisher is urging the U.S. Congress to act to address the scheduled government budget cuts.
On Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely consequences to his department and the FAA of possible automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, that are scheduled to start March 1. In the absence of a revised budget deal between the Obama Administration and Congress, he said the FAA is planning $600 million in cuts through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
The FAA has begun the process that could lead to rewriting the standards for normal- and transport-category helicopters certified under Parts 27 and 29 of the FARs. On Friday, the agency formally issued a request for public comment due on or before May 23. Specifically, the FAA is seeking comments on whether it should revise the maximum weight and passenger-seat capacity for helicopters in both categories and make airworthiness standards “more efficient and adaptable to future technology.”
Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators in the U.S. would have to file and fly instrument flight plans and equip their aircraft for position reporting with transponders and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast Out (ADS-B Out) transmissions based on GPS.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released details of the cuts they will make if mandated budget reductions from “sequestration” take effect March 1. The likelihood of Congress acting to prevent sequestration appeared to be dimming last week.
According to the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO union, 70 percent of airline maintenance is conducted by outside contractors, and some of the most comprehensive work on transport aircraft “should be conducted only by Part 145 certified repair stations,” according to TTD president Edward Wytkind.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) conducted a fresh audit of the aviation safety system run by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in what regulators there hope will lead to an upgrade of that nation’s Category 2 safety status to Category 1. Such an upgrade would spearhead the move to allow Philippine airlines to operate to the U.S. and Europe. The FAA downgraded the Philippines to Category 2 over safety concerns in 2009, with Europe blacklisting the carriers in 2010.
At a White House press conference this morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely consequences of possible automatic federal budget cuts, also called sequestration, scheduled to start on March 1, to his department and the U.S. FAA.
When the U.S. Congress returns from recess on Monday, there will be just five working days to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts, and prospects appear dim for a compromise that would avert these federal budget cuts. The general aviation community is sizing up the possible effects of sequestration on everything from the FAA’s NextGen modernization program to the contract tower program, as well as the day-to-day operation of current air traffic control services and facilities.