The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to close 149 contract ATC towers serving small and regional airports beginning April 7 as part of its plan to cut costs by more than $600 million under the federal government’s “sequester” mandate. Republican lawmakers accused the White House of blocking a measure that attempted to keep open the contract towers by funding them through the end of the fiscal year.
With the FAA set to announce its finalized cost-cutting plan under sequestration on Monday–which could result in the closing of nearly 170 air traffic control towers and other agency facilities–NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to outline the business aviation community’s “significant concerns” with the plan and offer proposals for mitigating the situation.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) sent a letter today to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, urging him to stop cuts from sequestration that will “disproportionately” affect the safety of general aviation operations. “The recommended cuts will have unacceptable consequences for the nation and the flying community,” AOPA president and CEO Craig Fuller wrote to Huerta.
The “overriding” principle the Federal Aviation Administration is following in carrying out mandated U.S. government budget cuts is to cause “the minimal impact to the maximum number of travelers,” Administrator Michael Huerta said Wednesday.
With the automatic U.S. budget cuts known as sequestration all but certain to take effect tomorrow, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta explained why they will have such a deep effect on his agency. In testimony yesterday before the House aviation subcommittee, Huerta also lamented that the financial “predictability” the one-year-old FAA reauthorization provided his agency has been all but erased by sequestration.
At a White House press conference this morning, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely consequences of possible automatic federal budget cuts, also called sequestration, scheduled to start on March 1, to his department and the U.S. FAA.
When the U.S. Congress returns from recess on Monday, there will be just five working days to avoid across-the-board sequestration cuts, and prospects appear dim for a compromise that would avert these federal budget cuts. The general aviation community is sizing up the possible effects of sequestration on everything from the FAA’s NextGen modernization program to the contract tower program, as well as the day-to-day operation of current air traffic control services and facilities.
Boeing didn’t get much of a chance to savor its near-record year-end sales figures and 2012 rate-increase successes.
U.S. aviation authorities announced Friday that the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct “a comprehensive review” of all Boeing 787 “critical” systems following reports of a string of incidents involving the Dreamliner, most notably Monday’s fire within the aft electronics bay of a Japan Airlines airplane parked at Boston Logan Airport.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) has urged FAA Administrator Michael Huerta to reconsider rules restricting the use of portable electronic devices in aircraft. In a letter sent just before the Christmas break she said that it’s time the agency accepts that its regulations cause unnecessary inconvenience to travelers and are not rational.