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.
Air Traffic Organization
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.
Congress has begun hashing out the final act in the most recent FAA funding battle. Bills in the House and the Senate are scheduled for votes and the differing measures could proceed to a joint House-Senate conference committee for final resolution later this fall. Some Capitol Hill observers expect that a conference agreement could be reached before the end of this month.
During a press conference this afternoon, soon-to-be-acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell and Vincent Capezzuto, the agency’s surveillance and broadcast services program manager, announced that ITT has been awarded the $1.8 billion contract (including options) to develop automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B).
The head of the 14,000-member air traffic controllers union said last month that the FAA is trumpeting the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) to mask poor morale and severe staffing shortages among its controller workforce.
Ronald Zilberbrand resigned from Chicago-based JSSI International, the company that he co-founded. He was president of the company and executive v-p of 154 West Holdings, a holding company with direct ownership of JSSI. He has resigned to pursue other interests. JSSI CEO Rick Haskins is assuming the role of JSSI International president until a successor is named.