Although the final outcome is yet unclear, the House of Representatives amended its $14.4 billion FAA appropriations bill last week to halt an FAA plan to turn over the operation of its Flight Service Stations to a private contractor. The amendment voids the February contract with Lockheed Martin, whereby 38 of the current 61 FSS facilities would be closed and 20 of the remaining 23 would be operated by the aerospace giant.
General aviation trade groups based in the Washington, D.C. area have joined with a disparate group of mostly rural communities, organizations and the volunteer-pilot Air Care Alliance in battling the Bush Administration’s plan to hike fuel taxes and institute a series of user fees to help fund the FAA and the NextGen ATC system.
On May 9, procedures and an application process will be in effect for reimbursing FBOs and other providers of general aviation ground-support services at five airports in the Washington, D.C. area “for the direct and incremental financial losses they incurred while the airports were closed” after 9/11.
The FAA is facing questions about its proposed Airport Improvement Program (AIP) redistribution and its possible effect on the needs of small airports. A preliminary report from the Government Accountability Office says smaller airports will not be able to rely on passenger facility charges to offset any reduction in AIP funding.
Despite the standoff between Boeing and the Russian government over import tax relief for U.S.-made commercial jets, the Chicago-based manufacturer insists that its participation in the Sukhoi-led Russian Regional Jet has not yet run its course. A spokeswoman told AIN that Boeing remains under contract with Sukhoi until the end of this year, and that the lack of progress in talks with the government bears no relationship to the U.S.
The House Appropriations Committee included language in the Department of Homeland Security fiscal year 2005 budget that requires Secretary Tom Ridge, in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Secret Service, to develop and implement a “reasonable and effective” security plan restoring access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) for security-qualified charter and GA operators by November 30.
The Air Line Pilots Association, the union that represents most of the nation’s airline pilots, has endorsed Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for President.
NBAA board chairman Donald Baldwin, who currently serves as the association’s interim president and CEO in the wake of Shelley Longmuir’s April 1 departure, has withdrawn his name from consideration as president of the association. A spokeswoman for the association said he declined for “personal and family” reasons.
Deborah Hersman, sworn in last month as a member of the NTSB, has minimal aviation experience compared with the extensive background of John Goglia, the Safety Board member she replaced (see page 74). For the last five years and before joining
John Goglia, a former member of the NTSB and an outspoken critic of the effects of poor maintenance on safety, has joined the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) as senior v-p of government and technical programs. Goglia was not reappointed to the NTSB last month after nine years with the agency.