Senate Approves FAA
Bill, Rejecting Repeal Of The National Mediation Board Rule
By Mike Mitchell
February 8, 2012 - The Senate approved a long-term
compromise by a 75-20 vote that will keep the Federal
Aviation Administration running and hundreds of
thousands of Americans working. This agreement will
create or save more than 280,000 jobs, modernize
America's aviation system, and improve safety for air
The Senate rejected the House effort to repeal the
National Mediation Board (NMB) rule that ensures that
only those votes cast in a union election are counted as
well as other anti-labor efforts.
The bill will require the NMB to hold a public hearing
when they engage in an informal rulemaking, which
codifies the past practice of the agency; and modify the
NMB election procedures so that when there are multiple
unions seeking to represent workers the two top
vote-getters appear on the ballot in a runoff election.
across the U.S. will also finally transition from World War
II-era navigational technology to cutting-edge GPS technology
reducing delays, making our skies safer, and making airlines
will authorize approximately $15.9 billion annually through the
end of FY 2015, provide funding required for the FAA to
modernize the air traffic control system and mandate the
development of precision navigation procedures at the nation’s
largest 35 airports by 2015 that will help significantly reduce
congestion, delay, fuel consumption, and air carrier costs.
been a top priority in the negotiating process. The FAA
reauthorization will require better safety oversight of foreign
repair stations, improve safety for helicopter emergency medical
service operations, strengthen the inspection of airline
operations and initiate better processes for tracking and
investigating operational errors.
reauthorization includes several provisions to modernize the
nation’s air transportation system, and to ensure that the FAA
implements the Next Generation Air Transportation System
(NextGen) in a timely and effective manner.
The bill will
establish clear deadlines for the adoption of existing NextGen
navigation and surveillance technology, create an “Air Traffic Control
Modernization Oversight Board” to provide better oversight of FAA’s
modernization programs; and mandate development of precision
navigational procedures at the nation’s top 35 airports by 2015 that
will help significantly reduce congestion, delay, fuel consumption, and
air carrier costs.
Key provisions in
the bill have been included to strengthen the federal government’s
commitment to small community air service.
The bill will preserve the Essential Air Service program, which
provides subsidized service to rural airports across the country that
otherwise would not receive any scheduled air service.
The Coalition of
Airline Pilots Associations, representing over 28,000 commercial airline
pilots, applauds the passage of an FAA Reauthorization Bill, the first
since 2007. “While still trying to understand how exempting the most
fatigued pilot group –the all-cargo pilot- from the new Flight Duty and
Rest Regulations enhances aviation safety, we are now faced with battery
regulation that doesn’t adequately safeguard our cargo pilots, ” said
Captain Carl Kuwitzky, president of CAPA.
The Bill prevents
the FAA from mandating tighter controls on lithium batteries beyond
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Technical Instructions
unless U.S. or foreign air-accident investigators produce “a credible
report” that lithium batteries “substantially contributed” to an
aircraft fire. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a
listing of 118 such incidents in May of 2011.
“The FAA’s own
model predicts the loss of 4-5 cargo aircraft over the next ten years
due to the bulk carriage of lithium batteries, and somehow that is
acceptable’? In September 2010 a UPS 747 was lost near Dubai, United
Arab Emirates (UAE). The initial accident report from the UAE General
Civil Aviation Investigation focused on lithium batteries and resulted
in four safety recommendations; all of which dealt with the carriage of
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