Optimism at NATA Charter Summit, FBO Conference
The National Air Transportation Association Air Charter Summit and FBO Leadership Conference that ended today underscored cautious optimism that the economy has bottomed and the business climate will begin improving soon. While many FBOs and charter operators continue to see double-digit drops in business, there are signs that legislators and regulatory authorities realize that new rules might exacerbate the recession in the aviation industry. FAA director of Flight Standards Service John Allen assured attendees that “we hope we can work to improve standardization [between FAA offices].” It was also announced that the Government Accountability Office will examine FAA standardization issues. Transportation Security Administration assistant administrator John Sammon summarized meetings that the agency has held with GA groups to discuss the large aircraft security program proposed rules and recent airport security directives. “We’re trying to put things in place that work in the real world,” he said, which could include a “trusted pilot” designation that may eliminate the need for Part 91 passenger watch-list vetting and also a weight threshold that might be higher than the originally proposed 12,500 pounds.