Mary Peters, who was head of the Federal Highway Administration from 2001 to 2005, is President Bush’s nominee for the post of Secretary of Transportation. If confirmed by the Senate, she will replace Norman Mineta, who resigned in June.
•Congress took a legislative break from November 18 to December 12 but, before leaving, both houses passed H.R.3058, the FY2006 Transportation, Treasury and Housing appropriations bill that provides funding for those agencies through September. The bill authorizes $13.8 billion for the FAA, $276 million more than the agency’s budget for FY2005, and $1.1 billion more than President Bush requested.
On November 15, Runway 1-19 at Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC) in Kansas City, Mo., reopened following extensive work. The rehabilitation was the first phase of an ambitious $69.6 million program to update the 77-year-old airport, which serves as a general aviation reliever for Kansas City International.
A proposed noise-compatibility program for Southwest Florida Airport in Fort Myers is under review by the FAA. Comments are due January 31. For more information, contact the FAA at (407) 812-6331.
Construction was scheduled to begin before the end of last year on converting private Air Rice Airport on Houston’s west side into a public business aviation facility, to be known as South Waller Airport, initially with a 4,500-foot runway. Its private developers plan to extend the runway to 7,000 feet as the airport grows.
Alaska Airlines is the first air carrier authorized by the FAA to use a new RNP (required navigation performance) approach to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s Runway 19. The airline pioneered RNP procedures–which allow lower minimums–at Juneau International and other airports in Alaska.
Gordon Newstrom, founder of Mesaba Aviation, died in December. He was 93. An expert floatplane pilot, Newstrom in 1944 founded Mesaba Aviation, the predecessor to Mesaba Airlines.
Before leaving for Congress’s December break the Senate approved a $39.7 billion, five-year deficit reduction bill by a vote of 51 to 50. Among the provisions of the bill are an increase in out-of-pocket costs for Medicare, changes in welfare and child-support programs to save $1.6 billion and a change in the student loan program to save $12.7 billion by fixing the interest rate at 6.8 percent.
NASA is restructuring its aeronautics research programs, including fundamental aeronautics, airspace systems, aviation safety and aeronautics testing. Among the goals of the restructuring are protecting and maintaining NASA’s key aeronautics research and test facilities as national assets.
The co-owners of Eaglejet Aviation have acquired the assets of Executive Jet FBO at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (ICT). The new owners, Jamie Pegg and Andy Rusch, said they will continue to offer fuel sales, de-icing and aircraft parking and storage. The business is now operating under the Eaglejet name. The business officially changed hands January 1.