Last month, FAA COO Russell Chew told a standing-room-only audience at the annual conference of the U.S. Air Traffic Control Association that a widening gap between the falling income and rising expenses of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) could reach a cumulative $8.2 billion over the next five years and he said the FAA must take positive actions to close this gap.
Area Control Center
China has been emerging lately as a truly global player in commerce and tourism, but as the Beijing Olympic Games approach in 2008, followed by the Shanghai World Expo two years later, the country must solve major infrastructural, cultural and equipment issues.
While pilots agree that ADS-B is the next big thing for the National Airspace System, with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey describing it as the “FAA’s moon shot,” its implementation process has puzzled many. When Blakey last week launched the program with $80 million in FY 2007 funds, agency bureaucrats were still seeking go-ahead approval from the FAA’s top-level Joint Resources Council.
ADS-B-equipped aircraft will be back on ATC radar screens in Alaska after an absence of several weeks. On March 24, following “misapplication” of separation standards by the Anchorage ARTCC, FAA officials in Washington ordered ADS-B aircraft returns removed from ATC displays.
While most speakers discussed current training issues and new learning concepts at the Air Traffic Control Association’s recent “ATC Training for the Future” conference, one presenter proposed that tomorrow’s air traffic controllers should possess, at minimum, a bachelor of science degree with emphasis on mathematics, computer science, engineering, probability theory and interpersonal psychology from an accredited university.
FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) officials early last month briefed government and industry representatives on the cost-benefit analysis of nationwide ADS-B implementation, as requested by the agency’s top-level Joint Resources Council (JRC). The ATO is scheduled to submit the analysis to the JRC in early June.
The single European sky legislation, with its provision for the creation by groups of states of cross-border functional airspace blocks within which multiple service providers can be certified against common requirements, introduces the novel prospect of competition among air navigation service providers (ANSPs).
In a curious turn of events, the FAA last month found itself launching its nationwide ADS-B program in Washington and boosting the system’s air traffic benefits, while at the same time noting that, at the request of Alaska controllers, ADS-B returns had been removed–at least temporarily–from scopes at the Anchorage ARTCC. The timing of the two situations underscores the tension between the agency and Natca, its most obdurate union.
The AFPs will primarily affect traffic flying into the Northeast from domestic origins west of the New York and Boston Air Route Traffic Control Centers. To determine if an AFP is in effect, check the FAA’s National Airspace System status page at www.fly.faa.gov/ois.
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