Golfing legend Arnold Palmer took a shot at the airlines’ proposal to institute a user fee system to fund the nation’s air traffic system during the convention’s opening general session Tuesday morning, calling any such scheme potentially “devastating” to the industry. “I just flew back from Ireland and flew over a corner of Canada, and in about a month I’ll get a bill for it,” said Palmer.
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News about governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace.
Proposed funding cuts that could affect NASA’s ability to conduct aeronautics research–including work on the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS)–continue to draw fire from lawmakers, aerospace officials and academia.
After promising that a new system for funding the FAA would be announced by late last spring, the White House admitted this summer that internal disagreements within the Bush Administration had pushed the project to a back burner.
Canada's private, user-fee-based ATC system–Nav Canada–believes that general aviation operators are double-charged for use of Canada's aviation infrastructure and that fuel excise taxes should be reduced.
"Business aviation should support the shift to user fees," urged Reason Foundation director of transportation studies Robert Poole, "if it is part of a comprehensive reform of ATC." He said user fees would enable the costly switch to a "network-centric" (more technology-based) ATC system that in his view would offset increased costs with potential savings from increased flying efficiency and fewer delays.
In what it said is “part of our transition to full electronic distribution of ADs and Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins,” the FAA today began implementing a cutback in the mailing of these documents to affected owners and operators. Specifically, the agency will no longer mail AD corrections that don’t receive a new amendment number and AD number.
The proposed procedure for reimbursing FBOs and other providers of general aviation ground-support services at five airports in the Washington, D.C. area for financial losses they incurred while the airports were closed after 9/11 is “a cumbersome government process” for small businesses and they will be “intimidated,” according to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA).
• Congress closed up shop on September 29, and November 13 was set as the date for what might be a lame-duck Congress to reconvene. The long interval freed legislators who are up for election to go to their home districts and do battle for votes. Democrats are hoping that the scandals surrounding Republican congressmen will influence voters to restore the Democrats to majorities in the House and Senate.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Transportation Department Inspector General are questioning whether the FAA’s safety inspectors and air traffic controllers will be able to cope with the introduction of very light jets (VLJ) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
The $388 billion omnibus spending bill Congress passed late last year cut the FAA’s budget for Fiscal Year 2005 to $13.6 billion, $219 million less than in FY 2004. But lawmakers added $9.5 million more than the Bush Administration requested to train more air traffic controllers.