GAMA and DOT IG Agree on NextGen Urgency
At Tuesday’s Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook, GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce reiterated business aviation’s call for the government to drop the concept of user fees to pay for FAA reauthorization. “GAMA continues to oppose the introduction of user fees on any segment of aviation,” he said. “The priority now is to ensure that the nation embarks on a decisive path to modernize our air traffic control system to accommodate future growth and address airline congestion.” A few days earlier, DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovel testified before the House Committee on Aviation and urged the government to agree on a financing mechanism for the FAA because FAA spending authority ends on February 29. (Since then, Congress has passed yet another temporary extension–see “Also Noted” section.) Scovel is concerned that key FAA programs will face challenges if the funding issue isn’t resolved soon. These include keeping the NextGen ATC modernization program on track; addressing the large air traffic controller attrition rate and hiring enough new controllers as well as inspectors needed for safety programs; and providing realistic funding for airports, which face a reduction in funding under the most recent budget proposal.