The U.S. Senate has passed a legislation package addressing many of the 9/11 Commission’s aviation security recommendations that have not yet found their way into law. Notably, the proposed rules would give the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) one year to develop a threat assessment program for general aviation airports, as well as conduct a study on the feasibility of providing grants to these airports for security upgrades.
• Congress dodged the dog days of August by taking a six-week recess beginning July 22, but not before legislators increased their bills introduced count to 2,772 in the Senate and 5,001 in the House of Representatives.
The first “A” in NASA stands for “aeronautics,” a fact often overlooked in day-to-day discussions of and references to what most people regard solely as the “space” agency.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association urged the Senate appropriations transportation subcommittee to ask FAA Administrator Marion Blakey what the agency plans to do about “the looming air traffic control staffing crisis.” The association anticipates a personnel shortage of up to 50 percent in the next 10 years. “This is of particular concern because it takes up to five years to train a controller,” said NATCA president John Carr.
Richard Doubrava has joined NBAA in the new role of director of security. He is responsible for coordinating programs in the areas of business aviation security, particularly NBAA’s new Secure Access program. Doubrava, introduced to NBAA by Shelley Longmuir before she departed the presidency, was previously with Carmen Group, a Washington, D.C.-based federal lobbying and government-relations firm.
Federal guidelines for improving security at the nation’s more than 18,000 general aviation airports remain bottled up in the Transportation Security Administration almost six months after a GA airport security working group made its recommendations to the agency.
Malaysia’s deputy prime minister has acknowledged the need for the government to acquire helicopters configured to conduct search-and-rescue missions. Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Kuala Lumpur, “We recognize the fact that we do not have dedicated SAR helicopters. Instead, we have utility helicopters that are used for multiple purposes.”
Argentine President Nestor Kirchner disclosed on March 15 that the country would end military control of ATC services and signed a decree creating the National Civil Aviation Authority. The government is still working on a timetable to make the transfer, but according to local sources it should conclude by the end of this year.
The Bush Administration alarmed a number of people early last month when it proposed cutting the FAA’s facilities and equipment (F&E) funding by nearly $400 million in its budget request for fiscal year 2005.
Congress bailed out of Washington in early December and was scheduled to land back in place on January 20. The recess provided ample time for reviewing legislative accomplishments and failures during the first session of the 108th Congress and for taking a look at what might happen in the second session.