Tag Archives: faa

Congress moves to act on flight delays before recess

CapitolWashDC

The House of Representatives is moving quickly today to finalize a Senate-passed plan that will ease air traffic delays.

Congress goes into recess at the end of this week and politicians fearful of leaving constituents dealing with flight delays and cancellations for another week has put pressure on them to act.

Business travelers and vacationers have been taking the brunt of the Obama administration proposed sequester since FAA furloughs started last Sunday.

In a self-condemning statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, ” Ultimately, this is no more than a temporary Band-Aid that fails to address the overarching threat to our economy posed by the sequester’s mindless across-the-board cuts.”

Delays have averaged 30 to 75 minutes at hubs in Boston, New York and Los Angeles.

FAA Furloughs start – Time for privatization of traffic controllers?

Air_traffic_control

Obama’s sequestration rule has kicked-in and funding cuts are hitting the Federal Aviation Administration

As a way to force Republicans’ hand in the debt ceiling debate, President Obama elected to use the tactic known as sequestration. Over the weekend, the spending cuts forced by that move hit the Department of Transportation and most-obviously the FAA.

Sunday flights were largely unimpeded with only a few delays at major airports as the FAA removed one day of work per employee over each two week pay period. As the summer travel season heats up, things will only get tougher.

Is this shortcoming another indication that the federal government is not the best entity to run air traffic controllers?

In 1970, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system was updated only once controllers staged a sick-out to get the attention of Congress. Efficiency is not the focus of government-run entities and streamlining is only done when huge amounts of public attention force legislator’s hands.

Many argue that something so large and integrated could only be run by government. All those towers and controllers have to be able to inter-operate seamlessly. Others make the case that the government doesn’t do anything efficiently and that inefficiencies are more to blame for the delays that travelers will experience in coming months.

Under the Constitution, Congress certainly has the power to regulate interstate commerce. Moving people from state to state for a fee certainly fits. So shouldn’t Congress regulate instead of run the nation’s air towers?

Landing/take-off fees paid by airlines to airports would fund the wages of controllers. Congress would certainly create regulations to make sure that towers were run to the minimum they see fit. Airport managers seeking the most value for their dollar will seek out the best controllers and best technology.

The Obama administration has used everything from White House visits to air traffic control as pawns in a political game of chicken. Perhaps it’s time to swerve. Opponents to ever-climbing federal spending don’t have to give in, they just need to start pointing the gamesmanship as a reason to privatize an even larger portion of the American economy.

FAA to Close 149 Airport Towers

glendale airport

glendale airportBlame it on the sequestration.

The FAA announced today that 149 smaller airport towers would close beginning in April. Originally another 40 towers had been slated for closure but will remain open, either because them shutting them would not be in the national interest or because money was found in a federal cost-sharing program to keep them open.

According to the FAA, airports will remain open. Many of these control towers already operated on limited hours due to the airport size. Pilots will have to coordinate takeoffs and landings themselves via radio and visual contact, as they have do now at night when the tower isn’t open.

The FAA has to cut $600 million under the automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1. Other savings will come from furloughing FAA employees and other actions.

Four airports in Arizona are included in the closure list including two within the suburban Phoenix area.

For more information watch the CNN report below: