Despite major flaws of the air traffic control system, failures to conduct safety reviews and other problems The New York Times called the Federal Aviation Administration a “first-rate regulator” on May 8.
The Times reported that outside the
In Latin America, “accidents number one for every 600,000 flights” and “
One Times’ source, Giovanni Bisignani, secretary general of the International Air Transport Association, lamented the “the lack of a common regulatory framework” and failure to live up to standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations specialized agency.
The airline market has been “up 7.3 percent over all in
According to the Times, “employees of state-owned airlines are paid poorly in many Asian countries, and government employees who serve as regulators are often paid less.” Torbjorn Karlsson, managing partner with the business consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles in
But regulation isn’t the entire reason for fewer accidents in the
“You shouldn’t need to have a regulator looking at every aircraft as it takes off or checking every turn of a screw by a maintenance person,” Mr. Nicholson of the Civil Aviation Authority in
Despite the safety record in the
In a letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee overseeing FAA funding, acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell indicated the agency hasn't performed dozens of five-year reviews at eight major airline carriers.
The Times pointed out in a separate May 8 article that some questions are being raised by the FAA and its detractors including who should run the agency? The administration has had no permanent administrator since September 2007.
“How should it rebuild its air traffic control system and its controller work force, both of which are aging and stressed? How should it set fees for airlines and others using the air traffic system? How should it ration scarce landing slots at
Wired magazine acknowledged serious flaws with the outdated Air Traffic Control (ATC) in October 2007 saying, “Built on World War II technology, the system is showing its age. Planes move quickly, and radar takes anywhere from three to 12 seconds to accurately read a position.”
The Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), the system supposed to take over for ATC isn’t projected to be fully operational with the airlines until 2025 and there is still a question of funding.
An aviation bill already passed by the House of Representatives would provide money for a satellite-based air traffic control system, allegedly improve safety inspections of commercial airlines, provide food and water for passengers on delayed flights and control charges for corporate jets.
The Bush administration threatened to veto the bill over tax increases as well as provisions funding highways, railroads and non-aviation concerns, according to Aviation Week May 7. The bill stalled after Senate Republicans raised the same concerns as the administration.
The Wall Street Journal pointed out May 7 that the impasse was primarily a setback for consumer groups supporting a “passenger bill of rights,” but also airports looking to raise ticket prices to provide for expansion projects.
Congress must vote to reauthorize the FAA every five years and the current authority expires next in June 2008. Congress has the option to pass a temporary extension pushing the reauthorization into 2009.