In a show of solidarity that even FAA Administrator Jane Garvey acknowledged would have been “hard to imagine” two or three years ago, 13 aviation groups ranging from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) to AOPA urged the Bush Administration to make aviation capacity improvements a top national priority.
Lawmakers escaped the dog days of August in Washington by taking a vacation and returned the first week of September to face a multitude of concerns, though few involve aviation.
The FAA could face a shortage of air traffic controllers in the next decade unless it makes more adequate plans to replace as many as 11,000 current controllers who could leave the agency by 2012, the General Accounting Office (GAO) has warned Congress. And that attrition could affect the safety of the ATC system and increase air traffic delays.
After serving less than a year as chairman of the NTSB, Marion Blakey last month became the 15th Administrator of the FAA. She succeeds Jane Garvey, who was the first woman to head the agency and the first to be appointed to a congressionally mandated five-year term.
Outgoing FAA Administrator Jane Garvey called it her “state of aviation” address. Garvey said she always chose the Washington Aero Club to give something approaching a “state of aviation” address.
With the Senate stalemate over FAA reauthorization and its attendant funding provisions nearing one year, some congressional observers are predicting that no agreement will be reached until after the next President and a new Congress take office in January.
AIN has learned that a directive from the “highest level” within the FAA has instructed the agency’s ADS-B Program Office to spend the next five months concentrating solely on resolving the user community’s overwhelmingly negative response to the proposed ADS-B implementation plan.
Back in the 1700s the poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley an’ lea’ us naught but grief an’ pain for promis’d joy!” The 108th Congress “scheme” (plan) to have appropriations bills for the 13 government agencies wrapped up and signed off by October 1, the start of the new fiscal year, went “gang aft agley” (went awry), for only three of the 13 bills made it through the process.
The FAA Management Advisory Council (MAC) should have more representation from general aviation, AOPA told Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta early last month. The MAC counsels FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and senior agency leadership on management, policy, spending and regulatory matters.
Shortly after a Senate confirmation hearing last month for acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell to take the job permanently, New Jersey’s two Democratic senators announced they were putting a “hold” on the Bush nomination.
A “hold” is an informal practice by which a senator informs the floor leader that he or she does not want a particular bill or other measure to reach the floor for consideration by the full body.