After less than a week of massive air traffic delays across the U.S., the Senate and the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly last week to give the FAA the flexibility to move money around its budget from lower-priority items to more necessary areas like funding that returns all of the nation’s air traffic controllers to duty. The legislation is also expected to return funding to the agency’s contract tower program through the end of September. The Senate vote on the legislation was unanimous, while in the House the vote was 361 for and 41 against.
Following Israeli requests for advanced defense equipment, the U.S. has agreed “an unprecedented release of capabilities,” according to a senior Pentagon official. Israel will receive Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotors; KC-135 tankers; AESA radar retrofits for its F-15 and F-16 fighters; and anti-radiation missiles. The new approvals were made public during U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit to Israel and other countries in the Middle East this week.
The United Arab Emirates Air Force has decided to buy another 25 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 60 fighters. The deal is worth $4 to $5 billion, according to a senior Pentagon official who briefed reporters in Washington. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, will also be receiving unspecified “advanced standoff weapons” for its fighters, added the same official. The sales have not yet been formally notified to the U.S. Congress, although the Pentagon had consulted with key legislators there, according to the official.
Skip Madsen has joined Landmark Aviation as vice president of MRO. “Skip will be a great addition to our senior executive team,” said Dan Bucaro, president and CEO of Landmark Aviation. “He brings with him a great deal of experience and knowledge that will be important to improving our MRO division.” Before joining Landmark, Madsen was the vice president of MRO operations for Jet Aviation.
The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) introduced two BAE Systems 146 jet transports modified to accommodate troops and their equipment. BAE Systems Regional Aircraft designed the conversion–from a quick-change interior–under a $23 million urgent operational requirement (UOR) contract; subcontractor Hawker Beechcraft Services at Chester in the UK completed the project.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is fighting back against U.S. government cuts slated to slash funding for the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program, which trains pilots how to safely carry weapons aboard Part 121 aircraft.
“It is beyond belief that, at the same time the administration’s budget proposal [presented on April 10] recognizes the value of risk-based aviation security, it proposes to eliminate funding for this well established and extremely effective program,” said ALPA president Lee Moak in a statement last week.
India has decided to reduce the advance-application requirements for foreign-registered aircraft to enter the country from seven to three business days for landing permits, and from three days to one business day for overflights. The move is a significant breakthrough for business aircraft operators, who have long complained that Indian bureaucracy has undermined the flexibility they seek to deliver.
As expected, President Obama’s budget for Fiscal Year 2014, released yesterday, includes a proposed aviation user fee–just as previous budgets have since 2007 when the Bush Administration first floated the idea.
India has reduced the advance application requirements for foreign-registered aircraft from seven to three business days for landing permits and from three days to one business day for overflight permits. The legislation, which has been cleared by the state cabinet, is now awaiting amendment to the civil aviation requirements by India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to enable it to be enforced. That process is likely to take around two months, sources have told AIN.
A record 223 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to President Obama opposing his continued support of a $100-per-flight fee on commercial and general aviation. “Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them,” the letter said. “Aviation user fees have been proposed by different Administrations, both Republican and Democrat, and again Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.”