President Bush Tuesday signed into law a homeland security spending bill that includes language directing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to work with industry to expand the transportation security administration access certificate (TSAAC), a voluntary general aviation security program.
• So, President George W. Bush won the election and will serve four more years in the White House. Cabinet changes are the subject of speculation, but Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta’s name has not surfaced as of press time. Troubled by back problems, Mineta may or may not stay on.
GA groups generally welcomed the Senate confirmation of Judge Michael Chertoff to be Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, replacing Tom Ridge, who resigned. But his positions on general aviation are still unknown.
Last month, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) introduced bills to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Transportation to draw up regulations to re-open Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to general aviation. Such regulations would have to be prepared within six months of the bill becoming law.
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.
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.
Beginning in mid-February, Congress took a couple of weeks off and returned to business in early March. Nevertheless, there has been no slowdown in the introduction of bills and, at press time, there were 1,133 bills introduced in the House and 533 in the Senate. A number of bills that failed to make the grade in the 108th Congress were reintroduced with the expectation that some could be enacted into law this go-around.
NBAA continued to bolster and realign its senior staff last month, hiring aviation lobbyist Lisa Piccione as its new senior vice president of government affairs and promoting longtime NBAA staffers David Almy and Kathleen Blouin to senior vice presidencies. In addition, the association hired Dan Hubbard as vice president of communications.
• H.R.2115, the “Flight 100-Century of Aviation Revitalization Act” introduced in May by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), was combined with S.824, the “Aviation Investment and Revitalization Act,” introduced in April by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and approved by unanimous consent in the Senate in late November. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration for four years and provides $59 billion in funding.