On Monday the North Atlantic Council announced that it will begin operating airborne early-warning flights in response to the situation in Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces are largely in control of Crimea. NATO will fly Boeing E-3 Awacs airborne early-warning aircraft in the airspace of member states Poland and Romania, which both border Ukraine. The flights are intended to “enhance the alliance’s situational awareness” of events in Ukraine.
U.S. airlines and airports fell into opposing camps over the Obama administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for the Federal Aviation Administration, which would raise the cap on the passenger facility charge (PFC) airports are entitled to collect for every boarded passenger from $4.50 to $8.
The Qantas Sale Amendment Bill, which serves to repeal part of the Qantas Act and effectively removes restrictions on foreign ownership and stipulations affecting Qantas’ business operations, passed Australia’s Lower House of Federal Parliament on Thursday by a vote of 83 to 53.
The White House Fiscal Year 2015 budget, released today, yet again includes a $100-per-flight user fee for air traffic services, with exemptions for military, public and piston aircraft, as well as air ambulances, aircraft operating outside controlled airspace and Canada-to-Canada flights. According to the White House, “The revenues generated by the surcharge would be deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.
I often get the feeling that general aviation is the red-headed stepchild in government’s view of the aerospace industry. With apologies to the late Rodney Dangerfield, GA seems to get no respect from the federal government. There have been three comprehensive studies on aviation in the past quarter century, and a few others on narrower topics.
The Pentagon proposes retiring the U-2 Dragon Lady and A-10 Warthog in the Fiscal Year 2015 defense budget it will present to the Congress next week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said. Hagel and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, previewed the budget for reporters on February 24.
Aviation interests are pleased with a decision issued late Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that halts an effort by the city of Santa Monica to close its airport (SMO).
On February 17 the co-pilot of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked the aircraft single-handedly and flew to Geneva airport to seek political asylum. Although both Italian and French aircraft were scrambled to escort the 767, the fighters of the Swiss Air Force remained firmly on the ground. A Swiss air force spokesman confirmed that no interceptors were on alert at the time, as the air force operates to office hours only, or by special notification. However, the air force was keen to point out that it could have generated interceptor sorties given more warning.
According to media reports Egypt’s interim government, installed by the army in July 2013, is negotiating a $2 billion arms package with Russia. Some sources say the deal may have already been signed during the visit this week to Moscow by the head of the Egyptian army, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. It is understood that the deal is being funded by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
The Indian government last week stalled completion of several major military equipment deals until at least the end of the current financial year on March 31. “We have no money,” said defense minister A. K. Antony at the Defexpo show in New Dehli on Thursday.
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