Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee and self-described “persistent bastard,” continues to rail against the lack of action in reopening Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to most general aviation operations.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Industry reaction to last week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing to discuss FAA reauthorization and the prospect of user fees was as strong as the statements some senators made during the hearing.
General aviation and its allies continued the political infighting with the airline lobby over user fees last month, firing salvos at an Air Transport Association (ATA) airport-shown television ad that portrayed GA–especially business jets–as the culprits behind airline delays.
An International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard requiring demonstrated language proficiency for air traffic controllers and pilots operating internationally is set to take effect on March 5, but the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) has asked ICAO for a delay.
Despite heavy lobbying by general aviation groups, a promising effort to have the concept of user fees for ATC services stricken from the Senate’s version of an FAA reauthorization bill failed narrowly in mid-May by a 12-11 vote.
In a public debate Tuesday at the Washington Aero Club’s monthly luncheon, AOPA president Phil Boyer and ATA president and CEO James May agreed on many issues related to funding the FAA, with May going so far as to say he would be fine with no user fees. “I’ve never allocated a collection formula,” he said.
Lockheed Martin, which took over operational control of most of the nation’s flight service network last year, is experiencing troubles with consolidation, AOPA asserts. As part of the 10-year, $1.8 billion contract, Lockheed is now in a seven-month consolidation process, during which it will merge 58 flight service stations into 16, along with three hubs.
The Regional Airline Association opens the next chapter in its 32-year history this year as new association president Roger Cohen presides over his first RAA convention in Memphis. But in the five months since the group bid farewell to Debby McElroy, Cohen hasn’t enjoyed much time to acclimate to his new environs, having dived head-first into one of the most contentious debates over FAA funding the industry has ever had to face.
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey continued her pitch for a new revenue stream for her agency during a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce early last month, comparing a Gulfstream IV flying from Teterboro Airport (TEB) to the Tampa, Fla. area to an airliner operating between New York La Guardia Airport and Miami. The FAA’s own N1–in which the Administrator often travels–is a GIV.
Like two punch-drunk prizefighters locked in a clinch, general aviation and the airlines continue to rain body blows on each other over the pending FAA reauthorization proposal that would shift much of the cost of funding the ATC system from airline passengers to GA operators.