A record 223 members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to President Obama opposing his continued support of a $100-per-flight fee on commercial and general aviation. “Aviation user fees have been proposed in your last two budgets and Congress rejected them,” the letter said. “Aviation user fees have been proposed by different Administrations, both Republican and Democrat, and again Congress has repeatedly and overwhelmingly rejected them.”
Drug Enforcement Administration
DEA and FBI agents yesterday arrested 22 employees and former employees of Boeing’s Ridley Park, Pa. plant, and one non-employee, in an undercover sting aimed at prescription drug abuse at the manufacturing plant, according to Vito Guarino, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge.
Although the recent economic downturn has led to a drop in charter activity among legitimate business travelers, the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s aviation division said he expects an increase in the use of charter aircraft by drug traffickers.
The light at the end of the tunnel is not a train bearing down on MD Helicopters Inc., said chairman and CEO Henk Schaeken. Rather, it illuminates a return to profitability for the Mesa, Ariz. helicopter manufacturer. Problems with three major programs put strains on operations and finances last year.
No one connected with Texas charter operator Addison Express was arrested or otherwise implicated in connection with an early-August drug bust by federal agents, in which three Learjets operated by the company were seized, according to company owner Dale Griffin (AIN, September, page 8).
AIN has confirmed that Franklin Rodriguez, the U.S. Air National Guard pilot arrested April 12 for smuggling the so-called love drug Ecstasy into the U.S. aboard a C-5A Galaxy, was a Beechjet captain at that time for Flight Options. The fractional provider declined comment, citing employee-employer confidentiality.
A drug bust last month netted Drug Enforcement Administration officials 141 pounds of cocaine, two handguns, an AK-47, approximately $700,000 in cash, the arrest of seven individuals and three Learjets (one each in Georgia, Texas and New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, reportedly at Signature Flight Support).