State Advocacy Network News
| Contract Towers to Stay Open
On Friday, May 10, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it will keep open the 149 Contract Towers that the Agency slated for closure on June 15th.
As a result of a budget impasse between Congress and the Obama Administration, an automatic spending cut mechanism called "sequestration" required the FAA to find $253 million in savings. The FAA in turn planned to shutter the contract tower program and furlough air traffic controllers to meet this requirement. Congress then stepped in and approved legislation giving the FAA the ability to reprogram existing funds within the FAA's budget to apply towards the contract towers and air traffic controllers.
"NATA is very pleased about this and believes it was the correct decision by the FAA. The contract tower program is one of the most cost effective and efficient safety programs under the FAA's purview", said NATA President and CEO, Thomas L. Hendricks.
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) were instrumental in pushing legislation through Congress that provided FAA with the authority they needed to move these funds. "Senator Moran's leadership in particular was vital to getting this done and we thank him and the other 41 Senators who supported his tremendous work," added Hendricks.
"Saving the contract tower program from extinction by using existing federal funds was accomplished by strong leaders in Congress and an impressive grass roots effort from across the country initiated by a coalition led by the U.S. Contract Tower Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association", concluded Hendricks.
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On May 1, the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report regarding the FAA’s oversight of repair stations, the third such report in the past 10 years. In this report, the OIG gave credit to the FAA for developing a risk-based oversight tool, yet noted the tool has not been very well implemented by inspectors. The OIG cited the reasons for this as conflicting guidance, lack of inspector training and ineffective checklists.
The OIG provided nine recommendations to the FAA, regarding modifying the repair station oversight system:
1. Modify its oversight system so all inspection elements are considered in inspector risk assessments of repair stations.
2. Implement a risk-based system appropriate for oversight of foreign repair stations.
3. Modify the risk assessment tool so inspectors can document changes to their surveillance plans as soon as they are made.
4. Develop a control that will ensure inspectors prioritize inspections to those repair stations determined to have increased risk.
5. Enhance training for inspectors so they understand the importance of using the available tools for assessing and trending risk.
6. Develop the Repair Station Data Package and provide training to all inspectors on how to use it.
7. Develop a standardized checklist that all inspectors can use to improve the consistency in the way they perform and report their inspection findings.
8. Provide training for inspectors to improve their review and acceptance of repair station corrective plans.
9. Provide training to inspectors on how to conduct comprehensive post-inspection briefings and require them to issue a draft report of tentative findings to repair station officials at the conclusion of inspections.
This report and all other OIG reports regarding aviation safety can be found by clicking here.
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|Appeals Court Invalidates NLRB “Poster” Rule
Last week, a three-judge panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia invalidated a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that would have required certain employers to inform their employees of their right to form a union. The rule, promulgated in 2011, required employers to post an 11 by 17 inch notice in a prominent location informing employees of their right to unionize and collectively bargain on wage and benefit terms. The court found the NLRB rule violated employers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act and invalidated the rule.
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NATA compiles relevant updates from the FAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security each day from the Federal Register. You can now find the latest notices, rules and proposed rules in a single source by clicking here.
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|New York Governor Declares May as Aviation Appreciation Month
NATA applauds New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for declaring May 2013 as Aviation Appreciation Month across the state.
The legislation, sponsored by Senator William Larkin and Assembly Member Donna Lupardo, co-Chairs of the New York Legislative Aviation Caucus, among others, highlights aviation’s contributions to the state, including the industry’s critical role for businesses to “improve efficiency, save money, and open up opportunities for rural areas not served by commercial aviation.” Aviation brings new business, investment, and jobs to all areas of the state, the proclamation states.
According to the New York Department of Transportation, aviation brings in over $50 billion in annual economic activity and employs more than 394,500 state residents at its 90 public-use airports. NATA has 88 member companies across the state that contribute to the $1.06 billion in total economic output attributed to the general aviation industry.
To view the proclamation signed by Governor Cuomo, click here.
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|Air Charter Summit Session - ASAP Means More Than “As Soon As Possible”
In the aviation world ASAP stands for Aviation Safety Action Plan. Many operators have heard about these programs at airlines, but few Part 135 on-demand operators have been able to participate. That has changed. Learn what an ASAP is, how it can improve the safety of your operations and the business case for participating in the new, nationally based ASAP specifically for Part 135 operators.
The 2013 Air Charter Summit brochure is now available online. Click here to view the brochure.
The Summit will take place June 17-19 at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott in Dulles, Virginia. Register today at www.nata.aero/acs. NATA has secured a discounted room rate of $199 per night. You may make hotel reservations online at www.nata.aero/acs or contact the hotel directly at (703) 471-9500. The cutoff date for the discounted room rate is Friday, May 31.
NATA is proud once again to support the Veterans Airlift Command through a raffle during the Summit. The association will hold the raffle drawings at the Summit BBQ on Tuesday night. If you would like to donate a raffle item, please contact Diane Gleason, Director of Meetings and Conferences, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Audit Challenges Webinar Available for Purchase
Do you have an operational or safety audit coming up this year? Are you sure you're prepared? NATA hosted a special webinar, Operational and Safety Audit “Gotchas”, last week to discuss common third-party audit problem areas and frequent findings.
Lindsey McFarren, President of McFarren Aviation Consulting, shared with attendees several common areas for findings in third-party audits. These areas include manual inconsistencies and revision errors; pilot training record keeping and program compliance; flight and duty misunderstandings; SMS participation and implementation concerns; and inadequate Internal Evaluation Programs.
McFarren also provided tips for preparing for an audit and managing the time auditors spend on-site with your organization, as well as advice for closing findings. She gave some pointers for determining whether you received a quality audit and how to resolve disagreements between the auditor and operator.
Finally, she provided attendees with valuable guidance on how to handle a scenario in which a particular audit standard is inconsistent with your overall operations model.
Click here to purchase the archived webinar.
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Individual Dividend Plans are based on your company’s loss ratio. With low losses, Dividend Plans can pay maximum returns.
All Dividend Plans are not created equal. Some are based on a group’s performance versus your individual company’s performance, and some pay the full dividend payout in months while others can take years. Be sure to ask what the maximum dividend amount is for your company and when the dividend will be paid back to you.
Have your agent contact our Workers’ Compensation Insurance program administrator, Beacon Aviation Insurance Services, at www.beaconais.com for assistance with this or any of your other insurance needs.
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|Aviation Business Journal Q2 Available Online
The 2nd Quarter edition of Aviation Business Journal is now available online.
This edition features:
- Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Second article of a three-part series examining the art and science of doing business with airport sponsors
- From Recession Roots – ACP Jets Just Grows
- After a Highly Successful Inaugural Aviation Business and Legislative Conference, NATA Shifts Focus to Charter Industry
- The Golden Rules of Effective Advocacy
- Good Parts Gone Bad – Maintenance Perspective
Click here to view the Aviation Business Journal.
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NATA E-Learn Webinars
Click here to view a listing of archived webinar recordings.
NATA is the National Air Transportation Association
Founded in 1940, NATA aggressively promotes safety and the success of aviation service businesses through its advocacy efforts before government, the media and the public as well as by providing valuable programs and forums to further its members' prosperity.
National Air Transportation Association
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Alexandria, VA 22302