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.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
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.
The FAA proposed today to make permanent the so-called temporary flight restrictions in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The restrictions and the current air defense identification zone (ADIZ) would be known as the National Defense Airspace. The Washington ADIZ and another over New York City were established in February 2002, ostensibly as temporary measures, and the New York City ADIZ has since been eliminated.
As the industry digests the more than 100 changes the FAA has proposed to Part 61, some trade associations are taking positions on the more substantial changes. The National Air Transportation Association and AOPA oppose the proposed additional tasks required to remain instrument current. However, the associations feel that many of the proposed changes are positive. To date more than 50 comments have been submitted.
Can and should Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) be opened to general aviation and charter aircraft? That was the principal topic during an unusual March 16 field hearing, called for by House aviation subcommittee chairman John Mica (R-Fla.), at the vacant Signature Flight Support hangar at DCA.
The $328 billion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress to fund most federal agencies for the remainder of fiscal year 2004 (until September 30) failed to provide the $100 million authorized for general aviation businesses hurt by 9/11. But, as they say in the sports world, there’s always next year.
As Congress began hearings last month on the Bush Administration’s plan to fund the FAA, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey attempted to do what one lawmaker called “defending the indefensible.”
Early indications from Capitol Hill signaled that the White House proposal for increased taxes and user fees to provide the necessary money to run the FAA and modernize the ATC system would have rough sledding in Congress.
The Inspector General of the DOT says that as long as Congress continues to mandate funding the FAA out of general tax funds, aviation taxes can fully pay for ATC modernization efforts. AOPA believes this position is “verification from the federal government” of its financial analysis of the FAA’s current funding structure.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce used the association’s annual industry review and market outlook briefing to dispel the “myths” that the Bush Administration has put forth regarding the need for an overhaul of the FAA’s current funding mechanism.
General aviation’s concerns found a firm basis last month when the FAA presented a reauthorization proposal that includes a more than 300-percent hike in the fuel tax and myriad fees for obtaining a pilot’s license, registering an airplane or receiving a medical.