|Topics in this Volume
|Congress To Adjourn On Friday; FAA Reauthorization Legislation Unlikely
Negotiations over a final bill to reauthorize the FAA were progressing until late last week when discussions took a turn for the worst. U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Chairman John Mica (R-FL) said they should resolve debates over funding levels, the Essential Air Services program and long-distance flights into Reagan National Airport before getting to the main dispute, which is over a labor rule. The FAA bill’s main negotiators, Rep. Mica, T&I ranking member Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce , Science and Transportation (C,S & T) Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) and C,S & T ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have one more week before Congress is expected to adjourn on December 16.
The labor provision is an area of considerable contention, so much so that it will have to be resolved at the highest levels, among House and Senate leaders and the White House. The White House has already threatened to veto any FAA bill that rescinds the National Mediation Board’s 2010 decision that only workers casting ballots should be counted in elections about whether to unionize, which would make it easier for rail and aviation works to unionize. Previously, nonvoting employees were counted as “no” votes, which is different from the rules governing other union elections. The House version of the FAA reauthorization bill included a provision to overturn the National Mediation Board rule.
Mica recently introduced a bill that would equalize union certification and decertification procedures, which he says is yet another attempt to resolve the larger FAA bill. The idea has been floated by some Republicans as a potential compromise on the issue. “I’m not trying to be difficult, but I want to provide as much incentive to get this job done as soon as possible,” Mica said. Asked if his bill means the issue would be stripped out of the FAA measure, Mica responded “absolutely not.”
A long-term funding bill for the FAA has eluded Congress for more than four years and has required 22 stopgap bills. The current extension expires on January 31, 2012.
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|Inside Washington Blog: Babbitt’s Departure Compounds Uncertainty
Last week's resignation of FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt comes at a time when leadership continuity is absolutely critical. With the 2012 election year now upon us, when substance takes the backburner to all things fluff and nonsense oriented, our industry can ill-afford a vacancy in the most important aviation leadership position within our government.
Click here to read NATA Vice President Eric R. Byer's blog "Babbit's Departure Compounds Uncertainty" in its entirety.
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|NATA Letter To DOT Supports Inclusion Of Ground Handling Operators In Diversion Forum
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood recently held a Diversion Forum to develop better ways to manage aircraft diversions after the October 29 snow storm that crippled the national airspace system and left hundreds of passengers trapped for hours on planes in Hartford, Connecticut.
NATA on behalf its Airline Services Council (ASC) sent a letter to Secretary LaHood commending the DOT and FAA for holding the Diversion Forum to address future diversion events. The letter suggests that to handle diversion events effectively would require airports to have a diversion plan. Such a plan would need to be completed by any Part 139 certificated airport and accepted by the FAA and should be developed in coordination with airport ground service and fuel providers to ensure that needed equipment and manpower could be made available during a diversion event. The diversion plan would also cover airport-specific operating plans that take into account security requirements and available space for additional passengers.
The letter further states that “ground service companies provide a critical role in an airport’s ability to properly manage diversion events.” NATA and its ASC members specifically requested to be a part of the process as the FAA works toward finalizing a system to ensure that the airline industry works together in sharing information and managing weather-related diversions in the future.
NATA looks forward to participating further in the Diversion Forum.
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|Has Your Member Of Congress Co-sponsored The Freedom From Government Competition Act?
The Freedom from Government Competition Act, H.R. 1474 and S. 785, was introduced earlier this year to reduce unfair government competition with the private sector, including small businesses. The legislation seeks to end government monopolies by subjecting commercial activities being performed by federal employees within government agencies to market competition to benefit the taxpayer. Not only do federal agencies duplicate private business, but many also engage in unfair government competition with the private sector. Many aviation businesses have been affected by unfair government competition in cases where an airport sponsor, the landlord and a government entity, uses state and federal funding to construct or renovate facilities to compete directly with existing fixed base operators (FBO) at an airport. NATA is increasingly concerned that this could become a growing paradigm for our industry. This legislation would help level the playing field between airports and FBOs if airports continue to complete in the market unfairly.
It is imperative that we have as many co-sponsor of this legislation as possible. Write your legislators today and request they become a co-sponsor. The number of co-sponsors a bill has determines whether Congress will consider the legislation. Currently, there are 20 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives for H.R. 1474, including Representatives John Duncan (R-TN) Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Paul Broun (R-GA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), Sam Graves (R-MO), Ralph Hall (R-TX), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) Steven LaTourette (R-OH), Donald Manzullo (R-IL), David McKinley (R-WV), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Don Young (R-AK). In the U.S. Senate, Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Pat Roberts (R-KS) have co-signed S. 785.
You may contact your Members of Congress to request they co-sponsor the Freedom from Government Competition Act through the legislative action center. Urge your Members of Congress to support the bill today!
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|NATA Joins Industry Letter Urging Senators To Support EU ETS Prohibition Bill
NATA along with fourteen other industry associations sent a letter to all one hundred U.S. Senators seeking their support of S. 1956, the “European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011.” The bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on October 31, 2011, prohibits U.S. aviation operators from participating in the European Union (EU) Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The measure directs the transportation secretary to prohibit U.S. carriers flying to and from Europe from participating in the program if it is unilaterally imposed. It also allows other federal agencies to take steps necessary to ensure that U.S. carriers are not penalized by the EU emissions scheme. The Obama administration is also opposed to the EU ETS.
The EU insists that it will enforce a new law that imposes an emissions cap-and-trade program on airlines flying to and from Europe, despite angry opposition from the U.S. Congress. Starting January 1, 2012, the EU plans to include all airlines flying to and from its 27 member countries in its cap-and-trade program. This plan will eventually force the carriers to pay for their emissions of carbon dioxide, a so-called greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming and could cost U.S. airlines $3.1 billion between 2012 and 2020. The restrictions are designed to encourage airlines to switch to cleaner fuels or economize on fuel consumption.
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|Now Is The Time To Prepare Your Application For The NATA AMT Employer Awards Program
NATA announced on the 1st of December that the association is now accepting applications for the 2012 Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Employer Award Program. This program, which is now in its second year, is designed to recognize companies that focus on providing high quality, frequent training to their AMT employees.
“We are very proud of this program, just as many aircraft maintenance providers are proud of their dedication to providing quality training to their AMTs,” said NATA Director of Regulatory Affairs Michael France in a press release announcing the availability of 2012 program applications. “The first year of this program was an overwhelming success, and we look forward to even more participants this year.” In 2010, the AMT Employer Award was provided to 28 companies. The award is divided into three levels, one, three and five star award, based upon the percentage of employed AMT completing the minimum qualifying training events.
If your company employs AMTs, NATA invites you to participate in this no cost awards program as a way to show your customers and the industry that you care about your maintenance technicians and the work they do. Program applications will be accepted through the end of January 2012.
Click Here To Download The Program Informational Packet
Click Here To Download The Program Application
For more information, please email Michael France at firstname.lastname@example.org
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|LJ Aviation Wins Governor’s Safety Award
NATA member LJ Aviation has been awarded the Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor. Based in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, LJ Aviation is one of only seven companies state-wide to receive the award in 2011.
“We are extremely proud of this recognition of LJ's enduring employee commitment to safety and quality, which are integrated throughout our company's flight department, maintenance and line service,” said LJ Aviation CEO and President Ed Kilkeary, Sr. “This award is testament to the diligence and rigor that our company has placed on safety in the workplace and for our clientele.”
The Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence is a highly competitive award presented annually to select companies that demonstrate safety excellence through comprehensive safety programs and labor management cooperation. The information gained from the Governor's Award nominations provides valuable best practices that are shared across the state.
“We are extremely pleased to see LJ Aviation recognized for their commitment to excellence in safety,” said NATA President James K. Coyne. “By receiving this prestigious award, they have raised the bar for the on-demand charter industry.”
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|Join NATA Presidents Council Today
NATA's Presidents Council provides executives of member companies with the opportunities, knowledge and connections to excel as leaders, while developing a closer affiliation with their peers and NATA's leadership.
The NATA Presidents Council promotes significant professional growth. As a council member, you will receive executive governmental updates and exclusive opportunities to develop key relationships with industry leaders. The opportunities to connect with council members and high-ranking officials benefit your personal business portfolio and advance the success of your operation.
For more information and to join, click here.
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|Membership Dues Reminder
NATA's membership year runs from January 1 to December 31. To remain a member in good standing, dues need to be paid by January 31, 2012.
Members who pay their invoices prior to December 31 may pay the 2011 rate. The new dues schedule goes into effect on January 1, 2012.
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