The FAA on Tuesday issued a final rule amending Part 121 regulations governing drug and alcohol testing to clarify that “each person who performs a safety-sensitive function for a regulated employer by contract, including by subcontract at any tier, is subject to testing.” These amendments are necessary, the FAA said, because guidance has been conflicting for more than a decade “about which contractors were subject to drug and alcohol testing.
With White House budget cuts restored by Congress, NASA is returning to its roots by restructuring its aeronautics research mission directorate to emphasize cutting-edge fundamental research, as well as protecting its far-flung test facilities as national assets.
Since the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1108 filed an application letter to the National Mediation Board (NMB) for representation of the 830 Flight Options pilots earlier this month, the fractional provider has increased efforts to thwart the union drive. It has set up a Web site to provide information to the pilot workforce about unions and, according to NMB filings, hired union-busting law firm Ford & Harrison.
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
The major U.S. fractional providers appear to be poised for growth this year, if estimates of pilot hiring and aircraft delivery intake are accurate. NetJets recently said it plans to hire 450 pilots this year, and New York-based analyst UBS Investment Research predicts that the New Jersey-based fractional provider will take delivery of 76 business jets by year-end.
Gulfstream Aerospace, which experienced a 12-percent increase in aircraft production last year compared with 2004 and expects that growth to continue, revealed plans yesterday for a $300 million expansion of manufacturing and service facilities at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters. This project, to unfold over the next seven years, includes a new 570,000-sq-ft service center–more than twice the size of the existing center.
Last Thursday’s union victory for the Flight Options pilots has received mixed reactions.
Aspen Avionics, the maker of the AT300 hazard awareness display, has asked a New Mexico court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Eclipse Aviation in October claiming “intellectual ownership” of the device. Former Eclipse employees Peter Lyons and Jeff Bethel say they developed the AT300 before ever coming to work for the VLJ maker and that Eclipse decided to sue them only after the pair left the company to form their own company.
Pilots of large-cabin jets who work as independent contractors complain that former airline pilots and young pilots willing to work for much less are undercutting their normal daily rates.
NetJets Europe (NJE) has offered its flight crew new onshore contracts and improved pay. Proposed raises for pilots and flight attendants range from 4.6 percent to 26.7 percent, and new roster arrangements will limit maximum duty days to 50 days per quarter. AIN obtained a copy of the contract offer, which was sent to NetJets staff on December 1. (See box on page 30 for details.)