Nearly three months after the union representing air traffic controllers rejected the FAA’s request for federal mediation to help reach a labor agreement, the union has changed its mind, saying it is “unhappy with the pace of the negotiations in the last two weeks.” When the FAA called for federal mediation last November, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) labeled it a “publicity stunt.” At that time, a NATCA spokesman to
Federal Aviation Administration
While the FAA drastically cut down on the numbers of very light jets estimated to take to take to the air in the next decade, comments and speeches at the agency’s 31st Annual Forecast Conference this week indicate there will be changes in the way the aviation industry is to pay for operating the nation’s aviation system. For general aviation, it could be in the form of new user fees, higher fuel taxes or both.
Leaders of three general aviation organizations went on the offensive yesterday in response to an Air Transport Association plan that would place a tax (read user fees) on the number of “departures” and “time in system” and give the airlines the most influence among ATC system stakeholders.
A new FAA program is intended to improve the use of comprehensible English as the international language of aviation and support new English language proficiency standards that are scheduled to go into effect in two years. The agency recently signed a five-year cooperative agreement with Ordinate of Menlo Park, Calif., to create a standard aviation English test.
The FAA today published an order extending through October 28 a flight-reduction program at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, including slot reservations for general aviation operations. The current limitations were scheduled to end April 1, which was an extension from an original termination date of October 29 last year.
Eight aviation trade groups, including the National Air Transportation Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the Regional Airline Association, have asked the FAA to extend the April 10 compliance date of a recent drug and alcohol testing rule.
The first trial of the FAA’s new airspace flow programs (AFP) begins shortly, likely during the next occurrence of severe thunderstorm-related weather in the Northeast U.S. The AFP allows ATC to impose delays on traffic scheduled to fly through areas constrained by severe weather. Delays are designed to affect en route traffic only, not traffic for destination airports unaffected by weather.
Testifying yesterday at a field hearing in Wichita before the House subcommittee on aviation, general aviation manufacturing leaders urged Congress to take a “strong and proactive” role in issues that could negatively affect the GA industry.
Top FAA lawyers and flight standards specialists met with charter companies yesterday in Las Vegas in the first of 10 air-taxi operational control workshops. The FAA explained the need to help the charter industry understand regulatory requirements for operational control and discussed planned new requirements for charter Opspecs A008, which will replace Notice 8400.83 issued last June.
On Tuesday, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey testified before the Senate subcommittee on aviation about the financial health of the agency, specifically the FY 2007 budget and condition of the aviation trust fund.