The Fall Session

Thank you to everyone who has given us positive feedback so far on this blogging effort!

As Congress is back in session today, now seems a good time to discuss some aviation-related issues that could come up this fall.  I use the word “could,” because as Robert Reich reiterated for me last Friday morning on the radio, their top priorities are health care, financial regulation and cap-and-trade.  As a result, aviation-related issues may well be on the back burner.

The most significant is the FAA reauthorization bill, which lapsed two years ago. The new long-term authorization is still working its way through the legislative process.  In the meantime, the FAA has been operating on legislation that provides short-term funding.  The latest of which, expires on September 30.  Kathryn A. Wolf of Congressional Quarterly reported last week that “the Senate is unlikely to complete its consideration” in September, “which probably will mean yet another short-term extension for the agency.”  ATWOnline has a good description of the current challenges in getting this bill ready for the president.

Barbara Hollingsworth of the Washington Examiner has a column out today describing  the Business Travel Coalition’s request for Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate Amerijet International.  She seems skeptical of increased oversight or action in the areas of maintenance and pilot fatigue, but not because of competing legislative issues, but because of recent history.

It is difficult to know what may come of Senator Charles Schumer’s outspoken criticism of new regulations regarding the Hudson River corridor, as not going “far enough” (via the New York Times).  Miles O’Brien wrote, very soon after the midair collision, that this was likely to happen.  That politicians would be eager to offer premature and perhaps reactionary suggestions that had little basis in expertise. I’m not sure that any legislative action would enhance what the NTSB and the FAA have already acted upon.

And, Jetwhine has a nice commentary from last week on the effectiveness (or not) of  a legislative fix to combat being stuck on a plane on the tarmac.


Our condolences, regarding the accidents.

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