When the new president takes office in January, among the myriad issues to be addressed will be the concerns of the aviation community. Certain to top the pile are FAA reauthorization, air traffic control modernization and selection of a new FAA Administrator.
National Air Traffic Controllers Association
When the new president takes office in January, among the myriad issues he’ll address will be the concerns of the aviation community. Certain to top the list are FAA reauthorization, air traffic control modernization and the selection of a new FAA Administrator.
The FAA on Tuesday awarded a $437 million contract to Raytheon to support the agency in training air traffic controllers.
New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) and high-time general aviation pilot Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) have introduced bipartisan legislation that would ensure good-faith collective bargaining for FAA employees and provide for an impartial impasse resolution process. At the same time, it would restart contract talks between the agency and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca).
Speaking at this year’s EAA AirVenture, acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell defended the track record of various agency-industry cooperative safety and inspection programs against Congressional criticism and promised to crack down on those who abuse rules governing amateur-built aircraft.
Tongue firmly in cheek, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) president John Carr thanked Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta for the Bush Administration’s decision to declare seafood inspection an “inherently governmental” function. He added that the safety of our nation’s seafood supply should be a national priority.
Although Congress is on its annual summer vacation, the battle over privatization of ATC continued at press time. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) said in a telephone press conference on August 13 that they will fight a proposal in the pending FAA reauthorization bill that would allow privatization of 69 general aviation control towers now staffed by FAA controllers.
On September 13, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will have completed the first year of her five-year tenure in the position. Is she meeting expectations? Has anything changed? Can any mortal possibly alter the course of what some have called one of the more dysfunctional agencies in the federal government?
A shortage of controllers at Chicago Center and an uptick in air traffic in that sector are a prescription for disaster that the FAA has so far ignored at the expense of public safety, claim officials for the air traffic controllers union.
House and Senate staff members continued working last month to resolve differences in the two separate versions of FAA reauthorization legislation passed by their respective bodies in June, even though the House/Senate conference committee had yet to convene officially.