According to NBAA, IRS officials recently indicated the agency plans to intensify audits of companies for improperly classifying employees as independent contractors, which could include contract pilots frequently used by corporate flight departments. The independent contractor issue is so concerning and complicated that NBAA issued a Best Practices for Utilizing Independent Contractors guide for business aircraft operators in 2011.
Unionized pilots with Lufthansa-owned low-fare carrier Germanwings staged a six-hour strike on Friday after negotiations between the airline and pilots over early retirement benefits broke down. The Vereinigung Cockpit union representing pilots with Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings said it would continue planning industrial actions “until the point of agreement.”
Cessna Aircraft delivered the 10,000th single-engine aircraft from its Independence, Kan. facility, which opened in June 1996. Liberty University took delivery of this milestone aircraft, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk with a custom paint scheme denoting it as the 10,000th piston single from Independence. “Reaching this milestone is a testament to the quality of the workforce at our Independence facility,” said Independence general manager Lily English.
The U.S. helicopter safety team (USHST) has begun a recruitment drive to convince more helicopter safety experts to join its efforts to reduce accidents and fatalities in the industry. The USHST comprises members from both industry and government focused on safety management, training, maintenance and safety technology.
The FAA’s Airports Office and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) have jointly created a new safety system called Airport Voluntary Reporting System (AVRS) to allow the agency’s employees to report safety hazards more easily without fear of retaliation. The FAA and Natca signed a memorandum of understanding for the 18-month pilot program covering 338 of the 550 Airports Office employees.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) on August 7 said it was pleased to see the transfer of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO) by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to the assistant administrator for Training and Workforce Engagement. The FFDO allows qualified airmen to carry sidearms into the cockpit. ALPA president Lee Moak said, “TSA’s decision to bring the program under TWE is positive action to ensure that FFDOs receive the strongest possible training.”
Vilnius, Lithuania-based FL Technics Training has launched an online maintenance training program called Online Training to provide EASA-compliant courses. The platform covers a set of specialized continuing and recurrent courses, supplemented by required examination and, upon successful completion, the issuance of relevant certificates.
After eight years of litigation, a legal battle between ExxonMobil and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over mandatory pilot retirement age has concluded with a ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The appeals panel upheld the previous ruling that the energy company’s policy on mandatory retirement for its corporate pilots at age 60 (later 65) does not violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).
D’Shannon Aviation has become the first out-of-state corporation to announce plans to relocate their engine overhaul operation to the Oshkosh Aviation Business Center in Wisconsin. The company is a major STC holder and manufacturer of upgrades for the Beechcraft fleet of Bonanzas, Debonairs and Barons. Scott Erickson, president of D’Shannon Aviation, told AIN, “We’re moving our engine business from ‘Race City’ (Mooresville), N.C., home of the world renowned Nascar engine shops to Oshkosh to take advantage of the highly skilled workforce and support.
The Greater Rockford (Ill.) Airport Authority (GRAA) and Rock Valley College (RVC) broke ground on a new RVC Aviation Maintenance Technology Program site. The 40,000-sq-ft facility, which will be located on the grounds of Chicago Rockford International Airport, will house the RVC educational course of study for aeronautical maintenance and repair and will allow RVC to expand and enhance its current program. Rockford is a major center of aerospace activity, with more than 200 aerospace suppliers operating in the region.
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