Former Top Gun instructor-pilot Robert Sturgell, who took over the FAA as acting administrator when Marion Blakey completed her five-year term on September 13, has been nominated by President Bush to run the agency for the next five years.
Although Congress passed a continuing resolution in late September that was to keep the FAA operating until October 31, the political firefight over contract ATC towers continued unabated at press time.
John Douglass hands over the presidency of the U.S. Aerospace Industries Association next week to former Federal Aviation Administration administrator Marion Blakey after a nine-and-a-half-year tenure.
While many NBAA members were in Atlanta partaking of the association’s recent convention, senior vice president of operations Steve Brown was in Washington on Capitol Hill defending business aviation against assertions by the airlines that GA was partly responsible for record-setting flight delays.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) is disputing the FAA’s claims that the agency exceeded air traffic controller staffing targets for the fiscal year that ended on September 30. The agency said it hired more than 1,800 controllers during the year, topping the FY06 year-end total by 256 controllers. As a result, the agency now employs 14,874 controllers.
The ink was scarcely dry on an FAA press release about successfully hiring new controllers when the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) said it begs to differ with the agency’s conclusions. On Friday, the FAA said it exceeded its air traffic controller staffing targets for the fiscal year that ended on September 30 by hiring more than 1,800 controllers during the year, topping the FY06 year-end total by 256 controllers.
Louise Maillett, who was instrumental in developing the slot lottery at New York
La Guardia Airport that helped minimize system delays during the notorious summer of 2000, has been appointed senior counsel to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. In this position, she will provide advice and assistance to senior agency officials on policy and other emerging issues affecting transportation and programs.
With runway incursions averaging one a day and close calls averaging one every 10 days, the Transportation Department’s inspector general has called on the FAA to follow through on its plans to train pilots to avoid runway incursions and use technology to warn pilots and controllers of potential incidents.
The Bush Administration has proposed a $14 billion reauthorization budget for the FAA for fiscal year 2004, taking a bigger bite from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund but calling for no new user fees. The FAA spending plan is part of the overall Transportation Department budget package, and is up slightly from the $13.6 billion requested for FY 2003.
The U.S. ATC central nervous system–known as the traffic-flow management system–has nearly outgrown its capacity, prompting the FAA to call for modernization of this critical infrastructure. The complex computer system is the heart of the National Airspace System Command Center in Herndon, Va., which continuously feeds traffic-flow information to ARTCCs, Tracons, towers, civil operators, military bases and other U.S.