FAA Posts

FAA Shutdown Imminent Unless Deal Is Done Quickly

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding is to expire in little over a week with still no agreement on a long term deal for the institution. Both the House and Senate will be keen to avoid a temporary shutdown similar to the one earlier in the summer which meant aviation taxes went uncollected and tens of thousands of contractors and government employees were temporarily out of work.

One of the main sticking points is the anti labor provision the Republicans want to insert to make unionizing airline workers more difficult. Democrats claim this has been introduced by airlines covertly lobbying for such a move, most notable Delta is one of the alleged.

FAA employees and contractors are rightfully nervous as many of those furloughed last time are still out of pocket .

With the level of criticism both parties could face if another shutdown occurred at a time when unemployment rates are disastrous and the economic growth stifled, it is feasible a deal could be done imminently but time is running our fast.

Now There’s a Better Place to File Airline Complaints

Got a beef about an airline? Now you have an even better forum in which to display your disgust and register an official complaint to try and get some action. In the Atlanta Constitution, the USTA is said to have launched a redesigned version of the website airconsumer.gov, which has a direct linkto the agency’s web form for filing complaints about service, safety, security or disability and discrimination.

How many of these complaints are sent in? Well, Delta had a total of 95 complaints out of its nearly 5.3 million passengers who boarded their planes that month.  Doesn’t seem like much but it’s the industry high.

Airtran beat its bigger brother out with just 15 complaints in a month.

You wonder, though, just how many more complaints there were which never got emailed in. How many just remained grudges…and come time to travel again, you’ll be sure that person would choose a different airline.

Traveling soon yourself?  Find airport parking at our site and make it all just that much easier.

Bird Strikes Vex Airports Coast to Coast

Bird strikes are in the news again, and it’s not looking good.  In Denver, reports the Wall St. Journal, there were 318 wildlife strikes in 2008, leading the nation’s airports. The incidents of birds getting sucked into airplane engine turbines has quadrupled to 7666 in 2007, says the FAA.  What causes the surge?  It’s a combination, they said, of rising bird populations, more flights and more reporting among airlines.

So far 219 people have died and 200 aircraft have perished since 1988. And this is only about 20% of the incidents, since the vast marjority are never reported!  The FAA is now under pressure from the industry to report these  strikes. Soon it appears that reporting will be mandatory, like near misses on runways, that must be tabulated.

But the FAA is worried about releasing too much info on bird strikes. The critics, though, say “If an airport knows it’s going to be scrutinized  more closely by the public, it tends to do more,” said Gary Andrews, of a Florida company that makes bird detection radar.

One bright spot: bird detection systems might be eligible for $1 billion in federal stimulus funds if the FAA deems it a high priority. The ultimate solution might be providing the warnings directly into the cockpits of planes, instead of to people on the ground.

Bird Strikes Strike Fear in Some Flyers

My daughter is terrified of bird strikes. Ever since Sully became the hero of the Hudson, just thinking about the chance of a goose getting stuck in the engine has been enough to ground her for months. Bird Strike! is even a popular topic on Facebook.

Today’s USA Today reports that in 2007, there were a whopping 7,439 collisions reported between planes and all kinds of animals but mostly birds. That’s up from 2000 when 5,872 accidents like this occurred.

But the FAA isn’t keen on releasing this data about bird strikes, saying that “it could produce an inaccurate perception of the risks,” the story said. According to the government, only a mere 20% of incidents involving commercial aircraft are reported under the current system. The FAA is afraid that if they make everything public, even fewer pilots and airport personnel will want to report the accidents to begin with.