August 7, 2008
By AOPA ePublishing staff
Despite almost universal objection to the landing slot auction plan, the FAA bulled ahead and announced it would auction two slots at Newark Liberty International Airport. (The slots came open after the bankruptcy of Eos Airlines.) That brought a stinging rebuke from the lawmakers who write the checks to fund the FAA.
“There is no question that your insistence on moving forward these controversial efforts will subject the Department [of Transportation] and the FAA to extensive and costly litigation that will benefit neither the taxpayer nor the air traveler,” wrote Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash. ), chairman of the Appropriation transportation subcommittee, and Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-Mo.), ranking member, to DOT Secretary Mary Peters. They said that diverting millions of FAA funds for this “untried, controversial, and illegal auction exercise” would exacerbate the FAA’s “many challenges in maintaining the appropriate levels of safety in our national aviation system.”
The senators’ letter reiterated many of AOPA’s arguments against the FAA selling landing rights.
And the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns Newark airport, said it would ban any airliner that used an auctioned landing slot. “When you get on the ground, you’ll have to turn around and go back,” Port Authority Director of Aviation William R. DeCota told The New York Times.
A new FAA policy on obstructive sleep apnea that addresses many of the concerns raised by AOPA is scheduled to take effect March 2.
AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association have jointly filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of the ongoing legal battle over the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
AOPA worked with the flight training industry and FAA to quickly resolve a problem that suddenly put many rating applications on hold.
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