Last year, the Bush Administration unveiled its proposed “next generation air transportation system” and then cut the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) budget request by nearly $400 million.
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.
Word was circulating last month that the weight of the Quiet Technology hush kit fitted to the Gulfstream III that crashed on November 22 while landing at Houston to pick up former President Bush might have played a role in the accident.
Last year’s slump in commercial aircraft sales and employment was not as sharp as predicted and not nearly as deep as the industry experienced 10 years ago. That’s the assessment of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), which also sees a recovery for civil aviation between next year and 2006, along with a concurrent upswing for aerospace employment.
The chairman of the Aviation Safety Foundation Australia, a private-sector organization, expressed “grave concern” over the sustainability of general aviation in the country. Addressing a recent aviation conference in Australia, John Sharp said the federal government is not doing enough to foster the growth of GA. “Wherever you look, general aviation is in decline,” he asserted.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) last month adopted proposed changes to its rules governing the legal rates and timing of travel payments by political candidates, those traveling with candidates and those traveling on behalf of candidates in connection with federal elections on private aircraft, including those operated under Part 91.
The 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by the Senate last month failed to include funding for general aviation relief authorized by Vision 100–The Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act. The $100 million relief measure that would compensate general aviation businesses harmed by government action following 9/11 will have to wait until Fiscal Year 2005 for Congressional funding.
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.
At an oversight meeting on the President’s proposed FY2006 budget for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), subcommittee chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) expressed concern about the lack of progress by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA in reopening the airport.
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.