While many NBAA members were in Atlanta partaking of the association’s recent convention, senior vice president of operations Steve Brown was in Washington on Capitol Hill defending business aviation against assertions by the airlines that GA was partly responsible for record-setting flight delays.
The FAA now doesn’t expect domestic commercial air travel to return to pre-9/11 levels until 2006, and its earlier forecasts that U.S. airlines would be enplaning one billion passengers a year by 2010 have been pushed back to at least 2014.
Last night, the FAA revoked the charter certificate of AMI Jet Charter in a letter hand-delivered to AMI president Don Hitch. The letter outlines the FAA’s determination “that an emergency exists related to safety in air commerce and that immediate action to revoke AMI Jet Charter, Inc.’s Air Carrier Certificate is required.” This move follows the FAA’s October 4 suspension of AMI’s charter certificate.
“Business aviation with commercial airline standards” is how DaimlerChrysler Aviation (DCA) describes operations with its fleet consisting of an Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ), Bombardier Challenger 604s, a Global Express and several Learjets.
Federal legislation introduced last month would require surface-to-air missile (SAM) protection, similar to that now used on military transport aircraft, on all of the nearly 7,000 U.S.-registered jet airliners. The bill, coauthored by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), directs that installations begin by the end of the year.
Reducing the incidence of damage to aircraft on the ramp is the aim of the ground accident prevention (GAP) initiative now under way by the Flight Safety Foundation.
If anyone went to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s annual review and outlook hoping to see light at the end of the economic tunnel, they had to be disappointed. “This may not be the deepest trough in modern times,” said GAMA chairman Bill Boisture, “but it is certainly one of the longest.”
Previously this column has addressed efforts within the federal government to transform our nation’s air transportation system. Policy leaders believe that the business model of traditional airlines has reached its limit and simply is incapable of meeting the need for efficient travel.
Fractional aircraft ownership operations, as well as charter operations, would be regulated under FAR Part 121, if the Airline Dispatcher Federation (ADF) has its way. The Washington trade group, which represents about 1,100 airline dispatchers, lamented that the notice of proposed rulemaking establishing fractional-ownership operations under Part 91 doesn’t require dispatchers.
Still unable to comprehend the monstrous scale of the September 11 terrorist assault on the U.S., the international air transport industry got a swift taste of the disruption and chronic uncertainty that undoubtedly lie ahead. Business aviation–which some are now saying will become increasingly important as companies look for a safe and convenient alternative to airline travel–faced serious restrictions in the week following the attack.