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News Alert
February 5, 2007

The White House released the Fiscal Year 2008 budget amid fanfare on Monday morning, but general aviation groups aren’t jumping for joy. In the DOT budget breakdown, the FAA allotment includes $175 million for a 21st Century satellite navigation system to replace older air traffic control equipment and $900 million in additional air traffic control system upgrades, but it also includes an expected user-fee proposal. "The [Bush] Administration will transmit a reauthorization proposal in 2007 that transforms the FAA’s excise tax financing system to a cost-based system that recovers most of costs of air traffic services through user fees," the document states. NBAA quickly rapped the Bush Administration for the move: "After more than a year of intense lobbying by the nation's big airlines, the White House has decided to introduce a budget that shifts airline costs to other segments of the industry and gives airlines more control over the air traffic system. NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community will oppose this toxic mix of higher taxes, new fees and airline control. The fact is the current approach to funding and oversight of the aviation system is effective and efficient -- there is no need for radical 'fixes' like those proposed in this budget." More...

On Monday morning, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey announced that FAA Chief Operating Officer Russ Chew would be leaving at the end of February. "We were hoping to keep hold on him longer, but this was an opportunity he just couldn't pass up," she told staff at a weekly meeting. Just what that opportunity will be is unclear because Chew said he has a number of options under consideration and has not made a final decision, though he plans to stay in aviation in some capacity. He has served as the agency's COO since June 10, 2003, after a long career at American Airlines as a line pilot and later in management. The FAA's COO oversees the operational and financial performance of the U.S. air traffic control system and the FAA's research and acquisition programs. More...