Regulations to combat pilot fatigue–which FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said will migrate to Part 135 operations–have been delayed past the August 1 deadline set by Congress. People familiar with the issues say release of the new rules for Part 121 scheduled airlines now could be weeks or months away.
When three Republican members of the House of Representatives introduced a 21st extension of FAA programs and funding containing a policy provision that cuts Essential Air Service (EAS) passenger subsidies to 13 airports, it set off a firestorm in Congress and inside the Beltway. Probably passengers who use the affected airports were not too happy either.
Nearly three months after Henry “Hank” Krakowski was forced out as head of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), the agency named acting head David Grizzle permanently to the post. Krakowski resigned as ATO COO on April 14, following a series of highly publicized incidents in which air traffic controllers were found sleeping on duty.
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The fallout from what began with a single air traffic controller falling asleep on an overnight shift at Washington Reagan National Airport on March 23 continued to cascade late last month when the FAA unilaterally ended a practice whereby controllers voluntarily worked grueling shifts to accrue long weekends.
Hank Krakowski, head of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), resigned today amid the fallout of not one but two incidents in as many weeks where the sole controller on duty at a tower late at night fell asleep. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt accepted his resignation.
While the general aviation industry has suffered recently, demand for GA products and services will continue to grow, paced by new business jets and light sport aircraft, the FAA told attendees at its annual aerospace forecast.
"Business aviation shows signs of rebounding," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "And weπre projecting growth in general aviation sectors, particularly in the jet and light sport aircraft sectors."
The FAA is forecasting a recovery for general aviation, with business jets and light sport aircraft leading the way. After growing rapidly for most of the past decade, the demand for business jets has slowed over the past few years.
Revised rules for flight, duty and rest times for Part 121 flight crews are still several months away, according to the FAA. The agency received more than 1,000 comments on a proposal issued in September to modify the regulations governing how long pilots are on and off the job.