Addressing some 1,000 delegates at the 11th annual Airports Council International conference last month, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey emphasized safety, security and efficiency as the nation’s airlines recover from September 11. While recognizing that the airline industry is “not as robust as we would like,” she made it clear that the agency and industry should not delay implementing measures to ensure safety, security and efficiency.
In her first official visit outside Washington since she took office, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey traveled to Wichita last month, where she toured Raytheon Aircraft and Cessna and spoke with others at General Aviation Manufacturers Association member companies.
With the Senate stalemate over FAA reauthorization and its attendant funding provisions nearing one year, some congressional observers are predicting that no agreement will be reached until after the next President and a new Congress take office in January.
As a new year begins, AIN’s editors reflect on the past year and the people and events that shaped the industry and filled these pages. Unlike previous years, when new-product announcements took center stage, last year industry issues–such as FAA funding, operational control of charter flights and the environment–garnered the lion’s share of attention and likely will continue to do so in the coming years.
In her final speech before the Washington Aero Club as FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey on Tuesday said that airline schedules “are at times out of line with reality” and if airlines don't voluntarily reduce flights they shouldn't be surprised if the government steps in. “Drawing down the schedule at Chicago was not my happiest hour, but it could come to that on the East Coast as well,” she confided.
At the FAA’s Joint Planning and Development Office Day on Capitol Hill recently, Administrator Marion Blakey introduced two NextGen future ATC documents. First was the agency’s 41-page 2008-2012 Flight Plan, which announced projects such as the statewide Alaska ADS-B project.
The FAA’s funding stream being tied to the price of an airline ticket is not sufficient or reliable enough to fund the agency and “a new funding mechanism” is required, according to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. In a speech at a recent meeting in San Diego of the American Association of Airport Executives, Blakey said, “The FAA needs a consistent, reliable funding stream.
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) has asked President Bush to replace FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker because they have not grounded the Mitsubishi MU-2. Early last year Tancredo asked the FAA to ground the turboprop twin “due to its shockingly high accident rate.” In lieu of grounding the aircraft, Tancredo agreed with Mitsubishi that the FAA should mandate a type rating.