The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) now operates under a new organizational structure, meant to ensure a stronger focus on oversight with a new strategy directorate. EASA executive director Patrick Ky launched the reorganization in April.
Regulations and Government
News about bills, laws, regulations and other governmental decisions affecting aviation and aerospace. Topics include FAA reauthorizations, taxes on fuel and aviation activities, environmental legislation, ICAO decisions, governmental mediation of labor conflicts and World Trade Organization disputes and decisions.
GAMA welcomed the European Parliament Transport & Tourism Committee’s vote yesterday to oppose “damaging resource cuts” to the EASA that could have affected the agency’s ability to certify new aviation products. “The agency’s ability to deal with new certification and validation requests in a timely manner is vital. This ensures that newer, safer products…reach the market without unnecessary delays,” GAMA said.
According to NBAA, IRS officials recently indicated the agency plans to intensify audits of companies for improperly classifying employees as independent contractors, which could include contract pilots frequently used by corporate flight departments. The independent contractor issue is so concerning and complicated that NBAA issued a Best Practices for Utilizing Independent Contractors guide for business aircraft operators in 2011.
NBAA is challenging the IRS’s position that the 7.5-percent ticket tax applies to Part 91 operations where the aircraft owner retains a management company. It has taken the dispute to the IRS itself, as well as the Treasury Department and Congress, saying these aircraft owners “simply hired a management company to provide certain support services” and shouldn’t be viewed as commercial operations subject to the ticket tax.
Thirty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives General Aviation Caucus have asked the U.S. DOT to accelerate review of a FAA proposal to reform the third-class medical process. Under the proposal, the FAA would allow holders of private pilot certificates and valid driver’s licenses to fly without a third-class medical certificate.
As more aircraft equip with ADS-B OUT–which broadcasts position, velocity, altitude and other information in unencrypted formats on easily received frequencies–business aircraft operators are concerned about whether they can continue blocking their aircraft from display on flight-tracking websites. While the FAA offers a way for operators to request blocking of particular aircraft from FAA radar data feeds, there currently is no physical means to block reception of mode-S transponder or ADS-B signals by a simple receiver.
Key lawmakers are asking the U.S. DOT to expedite a review of the FAA’s proposed rulemaking on third-class medical reform. In two separate letters, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) wrote to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, urging his department to complete its review of the FAA notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) within the next 30 days and open the proposal for public comment.
The FAA has essentially shut down flight-sharing systems that attempted to match pilots with passengers who wished to fly to the same destination. One such company, AirPooler, sought an FAA interpretation to ensure that its business model didn’t violate the regulations.
As Congress prepares to work on Fiscal Year 2015 transportation funding and FAA reauthorization legislation, aviation stakeholders are expressing “renewed concerns” about the preservation of 252 federal contract towers, NBAA said. Fifty-five senators recently signed a letter asking FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to consider “all perspectives” in the effort to streamline tower operations as the FAA continues to deal with budget pressures.
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