When Florida congressman John Mica decided not to challenge Republican term limits on chairmanships, it set the stage for Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) to take the controls of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The U.S. Congress has passed legislation that delays the threatened automatic cuts in federal government spending by two months until March 1, sparing for now a $55 billion reduction in the Department of Defense (DOD) budget for the current fiscal year. That budget currently stands at $552 billion, after the Congress authorized the Fiscal Year 2013 spending bill late last month. The President signed the defense authorization bill on January 3.
There is renewed speculation on unofficial Chinese websites that the country has closed a deal with Russia for licensed production of the Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bomber. But there has been no confirmation from Moscow or Beijing, and a senior military researcher in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has discounted the speculation.
Following the withdrawal of a “hold” by Sen. Jim DeMint last month, the Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm Michael Huerta to a five-year term as FAA Administrator. Huerta has been serving as acting FAA Administrator since Randy Babbitt resigned from the post after a drunken-driving arrest in December 2011 in Fairfax, Va.
The aviation industry unanimously applauded the confirmation.
In a filing in bankruptcy court just before Christmas, Hawker Beechcraft asked for court approval to shed two underfunded pension plans covering some 9,500 non-union workers and retirees. The request is part of an agreement with the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) and the OEM’s machinists’ union. Terms of the agreement require PBGC to assume responsibility for the two terminated pensions, while Hawker Beechcraft will keep the pension plan covering its 8,200 current and former union employees. A hearing to consider the plan is scheduled for January 17.
While House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spent yesterday rounding up Republican votes for a plan to extend tax cuts on incomes up to $1 million to forestall the fiscal cliff, the Baltimore-based aviation consulting group AirInsight believes that at worst there will be a “soft landing.” The company said it expects Congress and President Obama to reach a deal early next month, retroactive to January 1.
Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) will take the helm of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee when Congress reorganizes in January. He will take the gavel from Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who was prevented from serving another term as chairman because of Republican caucus rules. Shuster’s father, Bud, also served as chairman of the committee.
Sales of U.S. military aircraft will fall by 2.4 percent this year to $58.2 billion, the lowest level since 2006, according to a preliminary estimate of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). Sales are expected to decline by another 10 percent in next year as budget cuts force the Pentagon to reduce procurement spending, the association said in its year-end review and forecast, released earlier this month.
The Airbus Corporate Jet Centre has signed a customized support package covering the two Airbus ACJs that the center has delivered to Russia’s state flight department, which flies the aircraft on government transport duties. The support contract is part of ACJC’s VIP Pass, a program that provides support dedicated to the ACJ, rather than relying on airliner-type MRO support.
Donne Trotter, a member of the Illinois State Senate, was arrested and jailed overnight on felony charges on December 5 after TSA screeners at Chicago O’Hare International Airport found a loaded .25 caliber gun in his carry-on luggage. Trotter, charged with attempting to board a flight to Washington Reagan Airport, possessed a valid Illinois gun permit. However, the weapon was not registered within the City of Chicago. Trotter, who moonlights as a security guard, said he simply forgot he was carrying the weapon. Trotter was considered a prime candidate to replace U.S.