• Congress recessed for about a week to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday and returned to face a full plate of pending legislation before recessing again from July 26 through early next month. As of June 25, the bill count in the House of Representatives rose to 4,753 and, in the Senate, to 2,606, which certainly gave legislators plenty to debate.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
On June 9, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher was inbound to the Washington, D.C. area aboard a state-owned King Air to attend the funeral ceremony for President Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, the transponder on the airplane was not working. When the aircraft reached the D.C. flight restricted zone, an area that extends some 16 miles around the Capitol, it was misidentified as a potential terrorist threat, leading to the evacuation of the U.S.
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee and self-described “persistent bastard,” continues to rail against the lack of action in reopening Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to most general aviation operations.
The strict security requirements of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) just-released plan to reopen Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to general aviation in about 90 days might prove to be so expensive and complicated that some operators could be discouraged from using the airport. DCA has been closed to GA since 9/11.
The House Committee on Appropriation has approved legislation that in part supports reimbursing general aviation businesses at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and several surrounding general aviation airports for economic losses incurred as a result of security restrictions imposed after the 9/11 terror
Lambert St. Louis International Airport is the newest airport to be awarded Transportation Security Administration approval as a gateway airport for corporate jet operators who want to fly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Lambert St. Louis began gateway operations on June 15, and the supporting FBO is Signature Flight Support, which also operates the sole FBO at Washington National.
District of Columbia congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) used a House aviation subcommittee hearing on the Essential Air Service program (EAS)–which ensures air service to smaller communities–as a bully pulpit to call for stepped-up action to make it easier for general aviation aircraft to use Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, criticized the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) plan to reopen Reagan National Airport to general aviation.
The interim final rule from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) detailing all the hoops that general aviation will have to jump through to gain access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) has yet to be officially published in the Federal Register, but that hasn’t dampened the NBAA’s jubilation.
Rules that will enable some general aviation operators to resume operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) were released last Friday and will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, likely sometime this week. The interim final rule applies to all passenger aircraft operations into or out of DCA, except domestic and foreign airlines.