A House and Senate conference committee compromised late Tuesday on a four-year FAA reauthorization bill that could reach a floor vote in both chambers as early as next week, beating yet another extension deadline set for February 17. The agency has been operating under short-term extensions since the last long-term multi-year reauthorization expired in late 2007. General aviation associations said they are studying the 375-page bill, which would fund the FAA through Fiscal Year 2015 at a total cost of $63 billion.
Next Generation Air Transportation System
An Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), tasked by the FAA to advise on ADS-B in introduction strategies, has recommended that the system not be mandated. In large part, this is because many of its potential applications have yet to be fully defined so the benefits payback period on an operator’s investment in the near future would be well outside the typical three-year standard for the major airlines, considered the system’s predominant user group.
U.S. civil aircraft sales for 2011 are expected to total $49.7 billion, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2010, and the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) believes the sector will boost its revenue to $51.7 billion this year. But overall aerospace sales will likely experience a moderate decline in 2012 due to government cuts in space and defense.
Aerospace companies, airlines and communications providers have aligned to pursue the FAA’s Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS) contract, the second major step in the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) modernization effort. The contenders expect a contract award in June for the 17-year, multibillion-dollar program.
Competing contractors have disclosed the industry teams they’ve assembled to pursue the FAA’s Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS) contract, the second major step toward building the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The DCIS contractor will provide a data communications network connecting ground and aircraft automation systems, enabling digital data communications between pilots and air traffic controllers starting in 2015.
Former airline captain and pilot’s union president J. Randy Babbitt resigned abruptly as FAA Administrator on December 6 in the wake of a drunk-driving arrest in Northern Virginia, just outside the Washington, D.C., Beltway.
The FAA’s ambitious ATC modernization effort known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) faces an unsettled 2012 and beyond after a number of setbacks in 2011.
Despite the dire consequences predicted for Europe’s economy if the euro actually comes unglued, or the monthly chaos that ensues at the U.S. Congress’s failure to reauthorize the FAA, nudging close to the brink of financial disaster can sometimes lead to an epiphany and a new way to consider an old problem. Consider, for example, a nation’s air traffic control system.
Bedeviled by political gamesmanship and misfortune, it’s a wonder the FAA gets anything done—never mind accomplishing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). With the latest transition in FAA leadership, we’ve come full circle to the situation that prevailed when President George W. Bush left office three years ago, with an interim administrator and no reauthorization.
The FAA should provide more detailed information on efforts to align with Europe on ATC modernization to mitigate “continuing skepticism” among aviation industry stakeholders, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).