Anticipating the end of the U.S. government’s 2013 Fiscal Year on September 30, nearly a dozen aviation organizations sent a joint letter late last week to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders asking them to provide continued funding in FY2014 for the 149 contract air traffic control towers at risk of closure under sequestration cuts.
Avionics and ATC » ATC
News, issues, personnel, equipment and developments about air traffic management.
UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. The FAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating this summer.
In the space of less than 24 hours in late April, Congress passed a bill that staved off air traffic controller furloughs and produced “found” money to keep low-activity contract control towers operating. With lawmakers eying another vacation that would officially begin on April 27 and end on May 5, the Senate passed a measure on the night of April 25 that would prevent furloughs of essential FAA employees, including air traffic controllers.
Few punches were pulled as speakers took on the challenges facing business aviation in Europe at today’s EBACE opening session, with government policies and outdated infrastructure the primary targets.
EBAA CEO Fabio Gamba criticized the European airspace system. “We have reached the limits of the air transport system, conceived 70 years ago, when they couldn’t see the diversity and volume of traffic,” he said. “We’re seeing cracks in the system.”
Sita is supporting the launch of datalink ATC service in Indonesian airspace. The Geneva-based company has an agreement with Indonesia’s air navigation service provider to provide an air-to-ground datalink infrastructure that will enable pilots and controllers to communicate in the Jakarta flight information region.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a $50.6 million engineering and manufacturing development contract to build mobile ATC systems capable of providing approach control guidance to military and other aircraft operating within a terminal airspace area. Raytheon will supply 19 mobile systems under the service’s deployable radar approach control (D-Rapcon) program; the overall contract value is approximately $400 million.
LightSquared is slated to exit bankruptcy on May 31, and is required to have its future reorganization plan complete by July15.
In a last-ditch effort to stop the FAA’s furloughing of air traffic controllers to meet government-wide budget reductions, the House and Senate passed legislation late last week to transfer money from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to pay controllers’ salaries and prevent the closure of some privately operated control towers. Congress quickly moved to relieve the FAA of its need to furlough controllers after just five days of prolonged flight delays at major airports last week.
On Sunday the FAA began air controller furloughs that the agency said are required to comply with budgets cuts mandated under sequestration. The move has resulted in not only cascading air traffic delays but also scorn and lawsuits from aviation industry groups.