Where is the House’s version of the FAA funding bill? That is the question industry is asking as time draws short to get it through committee and passed on the full floor. A spokesman for the Republican minority confirmed to AIN that the current delay stems from the issue of controller staffing. “Committee leaders urged the FAA and NATCA [the controllers’ union] to resolve their differences,” he said.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in a response document released last week, reaffirmed its position on user fees and defied the FAA’s position, stating that the current FAA funding structure is sufficient to fund the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
• As anticipated, President Bush vetoed the $124 billion bill for funding military operations. The bill would have required the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as early as next month. And, also as anticipated, the House, by a vote of 222 to 203, failed to override the veto. White House aides and lawmakers were to hammer out a new bill that would be acceptable to the President and have it ready before Congress takes its Memorial Day break.
U.S. Lawmakers Question NE Airspace Redesign The FAA is confident that the New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia airspace redesign will reduce delays and allow the agency to meet system demands, but some U.S. lawmakers are questioning the redesign plans. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, and Reps.
The final vote tally of 12-11 against the amendment means that the bill will move to the next step in the Senate with user fees attached. Eight democrats voted for user fees versus four against. Only four republicans voted for the per-flight fee, compared with seven against. When the vote was tied 11 to 11, Sen.
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, criticized the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) plan to reopen Reagan National Airport to general aviation.
Although a “road map” for the next-generation ATC system will be released June 23, members of the House aviation subcommittee at a hearing yesterday expressed some concerns about their efforts to date. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is worried about oversight, particularly ownership of ADS-B, the “backbone” of the NextGen system.
Berlin Tempelhof airport operators are challenging recent decisions by both a Berlin lower court and the city authorities to close the downtown airport on October 31 next year. Windrose Air and six other executive air charter operators–AFI, AAF, AeroKing, Heli Union, Rotorflug and TAG–have filed a complaint against the latest judgment. A Windrose spokesperson told AIN that closing the airport will be expensive.
Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, and ranking member Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) are expected to introduce an FAA reauthorization bill this week to counter one the Bush Administration released in February.
• At the end of March, lawmakers took a spring break that ended in mid-April, leaving in a holding pattern approval of House and Senate supplemental emergency spending bills totaling $124 billion for the Iraq war. On their return, they