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.”

Senate committee questions tower closings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan group of 30 senators have sponsored a bill to prevent the FAA from closing any air traffic control tower in fiscal years 2013 or 2014, while the chairman of the Senate committee concerned with aviation warns all the progress made by the FAA is at risk because of sequestration.

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Congressional leaders express safety concerns about tower closings

Washington, D.C. – Leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sent a bipartisan letter today to the head of the Department of Transportation and the FAA expressing disappointment with the FAA’s “unprecedented decision” to close 149 air traffic control contract towers to meet the sequester’s budget reduction requirements.

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Sequestration’s silver lining

The news last week that the FAA will delay closing 149 contract control towers should come as a bit of a relief to the folks at SUN ’n FUN, since Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport was among the first slated to close.

That meant SUN ’n FUN had to come up with the money to pay controllers during the week of the fly-in. The FAA’s latest decision, however, doesn’t let SUN ’n FUN off the hook.

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Airports sue over tower closures

The Associated Press is reporting that several airports have asked a federal court to stop the FAA’s plan to close 149 contract air traffic control towers, accusing the agency of violating federal law meant to ensure major changes at airports do not erode safety. Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill., has joined other airports, including those in Spokane Airports in Washington state, and the operators of Florida airports in Naples, Ormond Beach and Punta Gorda. The court combined the suits into a single case Thursday.

 

Lawsuit on GA emissions dismissed

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia court has dismissed a lawsuit by environmentalist  group Friends of the Earth pushing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to decide whether lead emissions from general aviation aircraft  endanger public health and welfare. The court said the issue is not one that it can take up under a provision of the Clean Air Act allowing “citizen suits.”

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Why get upset about towers closing?

Starting April 7, the FAA will close 149 contract air traffic control towers to help reduce expenditures as required by sequestration. General aviation uses thousands of airports that do not have towers, so why are GA advocates getting upset over the closing of these towers?

That’s a question many pilots are asking. [Read more…]