The state of Virginia officially broke ground at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) in late August for an Aviation World’s Fair being planned for early spring 2003.
With the forcible shutdown of Chicago Meigs Field fresh in their minds, several members of the House aviation subcommittee called to eliminate some of the security restrictions that have been imposed on general aviation as a result of 9/11 and continuing unspecified terrorist threats. And general aviation trade associations pleaded with the lawmakers to create a cohesive federal policy on airspace and airport shutdowns.
“The aviation industry should not allow concerns over security to detract from efforts to improve aviation safety,” said Stuart Matthews, president and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, setting the tone of the 48th Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar held in late April in Hollywood, Fla.
General aviation interests expressed consternation over a May 1 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advisory warning the GA community against planned Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks using “light aircraft,” issued even as new TFRs covering a peripatetic President Bush continue to disrupt day-to-day operations.
Previously this column has addressed efforts within the federal government to transform our nation’s air transportation system. Policy leaders believe that the business model of traditional airlines has reached its limit and simply is incapable of meeting the need for efficient travel.
The days following the unprecedented shutdown of the National Airspace System caused massive grumping and anguish in the corporate and general aviation community, exacerbated when the federal government allowed only “commercial” aircraft to resume flying.
Perhaps as an example of the NTSB moving forward on long-outstanding issues, it has asked the FAA to require nonscheduled Part 135 operators to report activity data annually, including flight hours, revenue miles, aircraft types and missions.
At the end of this month, Brian Humphries will take over as chief executive of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), succeeding Fernand Francois, who is retiring after 12 years in the post. Humphries, who has been EBAA chairman since 1996, will retire from his day job as managing director of Shell Aircraft, the international flight department of the Royal Dutch Shell energy group.
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to subject all general aviation passengers and property to security screening was short-lived in the face of strong opposition from general aviation interests.
General aviation was of one voice as it charged up Capitol Hill to shoot down the proposed legislation before it got off the ground, and Weiner withdrew the bill.
It is good news that the joint program and development office (JPDO), formed recently at the direction of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, is crafting a national policy on air transportation. Many voices, among them mine when I served as president of NBAA, called for a vision and mission statement by the U.S.