Congress gives FAA flexibility

Officials at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association praised Congress for passing legislation that would give the FAA the flexibility to make more measured decisions about spending cuts, including staffing and contract towers. According to a story at AOPA.org, the legislation allows the Department of Transportation to move $253 million to the FAA’s operations account. The agency can then use the money to stop furloughs and potentially keep open many of the 149 air traffic control towers slated for closure.

FAA changes Special Issurance medical certification

A major change has been made to the medical certification process for several common diagnoses that previously required a special issuance and a review process by the FAA prior to issuing a medical certificate. According to a report at EAA.org, under the new policy applicants with arthritis, asthma, glaucoma, chronic hepatitis C, hypertension, hypothyroidism, migraine and chronic headache, pre-diabetes, and renal cancer can receive their medical certificates directly from their AME.

Pilots file suit to stop controller furloughs

Pilots and an airline group have filed a lawsuit to stop the federal government from cutting work hours for air traffic controllers, saying the furloughs will lead to travel delays of up to an hour across the country. A report in the Los Angeles Times notes that the lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to prevent job furloughs called for under sequestration. The report quotes Nicholas E. Calio, president and chief executive of Airlines for America, as saying: “The FAA plan is irresponsible and unnecessary.”