With the forcible shutdown of Chicago Meigs Field fresh in their minds, several members of the House aviation subcommittee called to eliminate some of the security restrictions that have been imposed on general aviation as a result of 9/11 and continuing unspecified terrorist threats. And general aviation trade associations pleaded with the lawmakers to create a cohesive federal policy on airspace and airport shutdowns.
Air Traffic Organization
Louise Maillett, who was instrumental in developing the slot lottery at New York
La Guardia Airport that helped minimize system delays during the notorious summer of 2000, has been appointed senior counsel to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. In this position, she will provide advice and assistance to senior agency officials on policy and other emerging issues affecting transportation and programs.
David “Bruce” Johnson has been appointed director of the FAA’s Air Traffic Service (ATS) division, with Linda Schuessler as his deputy director. Johnson replaces Bill Peacock, who retired May 2 after 30 years with the FAA. Schuessler takes over from Jeff Griffith, who retired late last year.
The U.S. ATC central nervous system–known as the traffic-flow management system–has nearly outgrown its capacity, prompting the FAA to call for modernization of this critical infrastructure. The complex computer system is the heart of the National Airspace System Command Center in Herndon, Va., which continuously feeds traffic-flow information to ARTCCs, Tracons, towers, civil operators, military bases and other U.S.
Rumor has it the Bush Administration intends to sell off ATC to the highest bidder. As is the case with most rumors, there is a kernel of truth around which a mass of misunderstanding and misinformation has grown.
It is good news that the joint program and development office (JPDO), formed recently at the direction of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, is crafting a national policy on air transportation. Many voices, among them mine when I served as president of NBAA, called for a vision and mission statement by the U.S.
Aviation security collided with politics last month on Capitol Hill, when a Senate bill that would have created–among other provisions–a new force of federal employees to screen airline passengers and their baggage encountered stubborn resistance in the House.
Robert Sturgell, deputy FAA administrator since March 2003, has become acting FAA Administrator following the end of Marion Blakey’s five-year term on September 13.
He has also been acting as COO of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization since the departure of Russell Chew while the agency conducted a search for Chew’s successor. The agency announced that former United Airlines pilot Henry Krakowski will fill that position.
The FAA’s decision last month to award ITT Corp. a $1.8 billion contract (including options) to develop and deploy automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology sets in motion a major NextGen ATC project. But it will take years for the full benefits to be realized.
The Reason Foundation has assembled a group of nine “leading aviation experts”–including former DOT Secretary Jim Burnley, former FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond and former NBAA president Jonathan Howe–that is calling for “significant changes” to the U.S. ATC system.