Helicopter operator Inaer, which is part of the Avincis group, has been awarded a five-year contract for emergency medical services in France’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Starting January 1, five Eurocopter EC135T2+s will be dedicated to Marseille, Avignon, Toulon, Nice and Gap hospitals. Avignon and Marseille bases will be subcontracted to Mont Blanc Hélicoptères, with the latter city’s helicopter being available around the clock. It is the first time a contract that includes several hospitals has been signed in France.
While the U.S. Congress passed legislation on October 16 that put an end to the 16-day government shutdown, getting agencies such as the FAA fully back up to speed will likely take weeks–adding to the adverse impact widely felt within the general aviation community and beyond.
“While the agreement reached does reopen the government, it may be some time before services at the FAA and other agencies are fully restored to pre-shutdown effectiveness,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has denounced an October 15 press report that claimed 58 percent of aircraft in South Africa do not have airworthiness certificates. The authority said the story was both inaccurate and irresponsible, insisting that its main point was based on a statement made by a member of the South African parliament that was taken out of context.
NBAA released its new Federal Excise Taxes Guide late last week, marking the first time the guidelines have been updated since 2005. It is intended to provide business aircraft owners, flight departments and charter operators with a basic understanding of the federal excise taxes (FET) that apply to business aircraft activity.
The U.S. government shutdown could have “grave repercussions on the [ATC] system,” Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca), told an October 10 rally. “The furlough of thousands of aviation safety professionals is eliminating critical layers of redundancy and safety that keep the system operating safely and efficiently. The shutdown has also interrupted the flow of hiring, training and innovation,” he said.
Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta asking him to deem the FAA’s aircraft registry an essential service. The closure of this office during the government shutdown has all but halted aircraft sales transactions.
The long-running dispute over President Obama’s signature health-care initiative led to the first federal government closure of “non-essential” services in 17 years at 12:01 a.m. EDT today. For the FAA, however, it is business almost as usual. Of a total of 46,070 FAA positions, 30,556 are considered exempted and those employees reported for work as usual.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) yesterday that would regulate “air charter brokers.” The agency says it is undertaking this action “to protect consumers, ensuring that consumers of single-entity charter air transportation have adequate information about the operator of chartered aircraft and enumerating certain prohibited unfair and deceptive practices by air taxis and commuter air carriers.”
FAA enforcement cases tend to focus on the front-line employees, usually pilots or mechanics, who allegedly violate federal aviation regulations. Occasionally other certified airmen, such as aircraft dispatchers, parachute riggers or air traffic controllers at contract towers, face enforcement action.
NBAA has moved its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. business aviation association announced yesterday. Its new postal address is 1200 G Street NW, Suite 1100, Washington, D.C. 20005. The association’s main phone number remains the same–(202) 783-9000. General inquiries can also continue to be directed to email@example.com.