Could FAA authorization fight shut down airports?

posted at 7:20 pm on July 19, 2011 by Jazz Shaw

While everyone is focused on the debt ceiling debate, there is plenty of housekeeping type, business as usual activity which congress needs to wrap up. One of the more pesky items remaining in a holding pattern is the re-authorization of the FAA. This has been dragging on for years now, and there’s no sign of a final resolution on the horizon.

Even though the U.S. House of Representatives cancelled its scheduled recess this week, it is evident that the long-stalled FAA reauthorization bill will not be completed by the expiration of the 20th short-term extension on July 22. On July 15, House Transportation and Infrastructure chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) introduced H.R. 2553, a record-busting 21st extension that would run until Sept. 16, 2011. This is not good news for the industry as a whole, but certainly not for general aviation airports, say officials with the General Aviation Airport Coalition (GAAC).

On May 25, however, the coalition initiated an advocacy campaign urging House and Senate leaders to join forces and deliver a complete reauthorization bill to provide the greatest user benefits possible to general aviation airports.

When H.R. 2553 was sent over, it seems that Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) tacked on a change to the previous Senate proposal which will reduce the federal subsidy provided to airports. This left at least one senator feeling a bit flustered.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), however, isn’t pleased with the changes, saying, “The House has demonstrated that it is not serious about getting a comprehensive bill done. The Senate will not consider passing an FAA extension with policy riders that hurt small communities across the country. By sending over a bill that can’t pass the Senate, we risk shutting down our nation’s aviation system.”

So what happens if this process isn’t completed? Does it mean that the nation’s entire network of airports have to shut down? The article mentions that an FAA spokesperson was asked about that and all she had to say was, “We’re not going to speculate.”

That’s certainly not much of an answer. I’m not even sure if the House is looking to trim the FAA budget as part of wider cost cutting measures, or if perhaps this ties into the ongoing battle over regulatory agency interference, such as we’re witnessing with the NLRB debacle. Either way, crippling air travel certainly isn’t an option so they’d better figure out something pretty quickly.

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Comments

Authorize Fight Shut Downs?

portlandon on July 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM

That’s one way to go after all those evil corporate jets.

rbj on July 19, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Authorize Fight Shut Downs?

portlandon on July 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM

The “L” is silent.

Ooops. It just re-appeared.

Electrongod on July 19, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Authorize Fight Shut Downs?

portlandon on July 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Fight as in “skirmish”?

Knucklehead on July 19, 2011 at 7:38 PM

I think the airlines would take care of the air traffic control by themselves, without a hiccup.

Slowburn on July 19, 2011 at 7:41 PM

I think the airlines would take care of the air traffic control by themselves, without a hiccup.

Slowburn on July 19, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Not that simple.

Del Dolemonte on July 19, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I think the airlines would take care of the air traffic control by themselves, without a hiccup.

Slowburn on July 19, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Most of the Airlines have Operations centers with better equipment than the FAA anyway so that would be a great idea

the_ancient on July 19, 2011 at 7:44 PM

There are “only” 550 days until Obumba is gone…Allah willing /sarc

Dingbat63 on July 19, 2011 at 7:45 PM

LOL. He put an L in it and took it out.

portlandon on July 19, 2011 at 7:46 PM

GO GREEN!!!!

What a great way to eliminate such a huge carbon footprint!!!! AWESOME!!!!

/s

On the serious side….airports & FAA can make do with less just like the rest of us. I just looked at my latest flight receipt and there’s $19 of fees and taxes for one 1 way flight. Given the number of people flying daily where’s all this money being wasted at?

I know the “F” word in Government circles is frowned upon but it’s time to get FRUGAL!

VikingGoneWild on July 19, 2011 at 7:47 PM

How about the senate suck it up and reduce the subsidy?

GaltBlvnAtty on July 19, 2011 at 7:48 PM

A lot of this has to do with “General Aviation Airports”, which does not include military traffic or scheduled airline flights (but does include air cargo flights, many of which are “non-scheduled”, meaning they fly when they are ready).

We already probably have more GA airports than we really need (there are over 5,000 in the US alone). But 50 years ago there were many times that many, including some famous classic smaller airports that are now no longer visible, as they have been paved over and turned into condos or strip malls.

General Aviation survived all those past airport closings, I think they will survive this too. If it happens.

Del Dolemonte on July 19, 2011 at 7:52 PM

No, nothing is going to get shut down. This article is talking about AIP (Airport Improvement Projects) for General Aviation Airports and to be perfectly honest the world isn’t going to come to an end if these airports hold off on improvements for five or even ten years. I’m saying that as someone in the general aviation business. The government is broke, everyone knows it.

lowandslow on July 19, 2011 at 7:57 PM

We already probably have more GA airports than we really need

No we don’t but that doesn’t mean they can’t go a while without improvements.

lowandslow on July 19, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Nothing is going to be shut down. Remember what happened for almost a week after the 9/11/2001 attacks? The entire system closed down for almost a week, and did irreparable damage to the economy. I’ll be posting a lengthy response on my blog about this soon.

simkeith on July 19, 2011 at 8:10 PM

The EPA would be partying in the streets with all the CO2 emissions reduced because of any shutdown…

drfredc on July 19, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Can we do this to the T&A?

slickwillie2001 on July 19, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Come on people, Congress can only do so much with their important workload, for God’s sakes people there are professional athletes that used performance enhancing drugs!!!

Tim Zank on July 19, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Does the FAA actually do anything necessary to the process? I mean, sure, they STOP lots of things, but do they do anythig that actually puts planes in the air?

phelps on July 19, 2011 at 11:16 PM

I think the FAA could probably complete all of its vital functions in no more than 30 days/year total: How about reducing FAA salaries accordingly??

landlines on July 19, 2011 at 11:29 PM

HA is slipping. Not one mention of Reagan firing ATC Aug. 5, 1981.

Caststeel on July 20, 2011 at 1:21 AM

I know the “F” word in Government circles is frowned upon but it’s time to get FRUGAL!

VikingGoneWild on July 19, 2011 at 7:47 PM

If you think the F word is frowned upon, try the P word. That bastion of laissez-faire free market capitalism Canada has a privatized FAA. Why the heck don’t we do the same? We would save money and most likely get a better agency out of the deal, probably one that would not sit on their hands staring in disbelief as they received phone call after phone call saying that terrorists were slamming planes into buildings.

Kafir on July 20, 2011 at 7:27 AM