New FAA Administrator Marion Blakey apparently wants to continue the cooperative relationship with the nation’s air traffic controllers that was fostered by her predecessor.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
News that the FAA intends to declare ATC a “commercial activity” is not sitting well with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), the union that represents the nation’s controllers and other FAA workers in the ATC system.
Air traffic controllers at the FAA’s 20 contiguous en route centers are now able to see more accurate, timely weather information on the same display that shows aircraft position data, which the agency claims will reduce the potential for weather-related accidents and lessen the effect of weather on airspace efficiency.
As a new year begins, AIN’s editors reflect on the past year and the people and events that shaped the industry and filled these pages. Unlike previous years, when new-product announcements took center stage, last year industry issues–such as FAA funding, operational control of charter flights and the environment–garnered the lion’s share of attention and likely will continue to do so in the coming years.
As the holidays approached, the likelihood of any action on the FAA budget dimmed considerably when lawmakers carved a provision to increase the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots out of both FAA reauthorization bills and overwhelmingly approved raising the limit from 60 to 65. President Bush signed the measure into law within hours.
Meanwhile, the General Accounting Office (GAO) added its voice to that of DOT inspector general Kenneth Mead, who has repeatedly warned that the FAA cannot sustain continued salary increases for controllers. Average pay for controllers rose from $72,000 in 1998 to $106,000 last year.
The FAA will be able to cope with the loss of almost half of its air traffic controller workforce over the next nine years if it can keep better track of attrition by locale and assess a new controller’s potential to certify at a certain ATC facility level, according to the Transportation Department’s office of inspector general (OIG).
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association accused the FAA of dragging its feet on deploying ASDE-X, which provides controllers with an all-weather, seamless airport surface surveillance system. It uses radar and a process of determining a target location in two or three dimensions called multilateration.
Russ Meyer, chairman of Cessna, and two other top aviation executives were named members of the FAA’s Management Advisory Council, created in 1996 to assist the agency in operating as a performance-based business. The other new members are Charles Bolden, Jr., senior v-p of tech at Trans International, and Philip Trenary, president and CEO of Pinnacle Airlines.