Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Emergency Pilots at Risk Under Airline Proposal

With the extension for FAA reauthorization passed and the new deadline set for June 30th, it's might be easy to become more passive about the issue of the possibility of new fees on general aviation. That's not the attitude Keith Laken of Peoria's LifeLine Pilots is succumbing to. In a guest column in the Peoria Journal-Star, Mr. Laken details the impact any new taxes would have on emergency pilots. Mr. Laken's group fliers terminally ill patients to hospitals and treatment centers where they have access to life-saving procedures and medicines.

Mr. Laken writes: "These pilots, who fund missions out of their own pockets, may not be able to afford Lifeline service.With about two flights taking off every day during the week, an absence of pilots would really harm those who depend on them."

It is essential that we keep shining the spotlight on pilots like Mr. Laken and his volunteers to ensure that their valuable service is kept intact.

Click here to read Mr. Laken's column.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Coming soon: "Cattle cars in the sky"

According to a Cincinnati Enquirer article on Sunday, domestic flights will be more packed than usual given the possible mergers and airlines' attempts to cut costs. The article details a litany of problems that will arise from the airlines attempting to pad their bottomline. From cuts on frequent flier miles to fewer available flights, fliers may face a less friendly traveling atmosphere in the coming months.

The article states, " Even if there aren't mergers, the average U.S. flyer will see the trends of crowded aircraft and rising ticket prices continue if fuel costs remain high."

Long story short, with the airlines looking out for their pocketbooks, passengers are going to take a hit.

Read the entire article HERE.

Friday, February 22, 2008

AAAA Statement on FAA Extension

Below is the Alliance for Aviation Across America's statement regarding the extension for FAA Reauthorization.

Press Release
For Immediate Release
February 22, 2008

Alliance for Aviation Across America Renews Call for Comprehensive FAA Reauthorization Bill

Washington D.C. - In light of Congress’ recent decision to extend FAA funding to June 30th, the Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA) today issued the following statement:

“While we are pleased that Congress has ensured that funding for crucial FAA priorities is not jeopardized by passing a short-term extension, we once again urge Congress to pass a comprehensive proposal for FAA reauthorization. This will guarantee funding for important projects at small airports around the country, and also that we can get down to the important issue of modernizing of our air traffic control system once and for all. We continue to support a bill for reauthorization that will provide this necessary funding for FAA reauthorization while protecting small businesses and rural communities across the country that depend on general aviation.”


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FAA Reauthorization Deadline Extended

Last week, both the House and the Senate voted to extended the deadline for FAA Reauthorization to June 30, 2008. Their goal is to use the extension to finalize a four-year plan for reauthorization and get the funds we need to modernize our air traffic control system.

We understand Congress' need to extend the deadline and applaud them for their hours of work on the issue. We urge Congress to finalize the multi-year plan in this time order to get to the business of modernization.

For more information, read Helicopter Association International's article on the extension HERE.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Representatives Stand Up For HR 2881

In a USA Today guest opinion piece, Representatives Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Jerry Costello (D-IL) defended the merits of HR 2881. Detailing the flaws in the administration's user fee proposal, the Representatives showed the true benefits behind the current fuel tax structure, stating "The current tax and financing system has accommodated the enormous growth of American aviation over the past 30 years, and it can continue to do so."

Representatives Oberstand and Costello and other involved members have spend hours engaging in debate, testimony, and hearings on the best way to move our air traffic control system into the digital age. In their Op-Ed, they stated: "Five months ago, the House passed a comprehensive, viable FAA reauthorization bill that maintains the current revenue structure and increases the funds for air traffic modernization and airport improvements."

We must continue to move forward with the positive legislation that has been drafted and ensure that we have the funding to move forward with a bill that will keep our nation's aviation industry strong.

Read the Op-Ed HERE.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"If there is a hint of bad weather anywhere, that will be used as the excuse"

In this article, Christopher Elliot uncovers the truth about weather and flight delays. Passengers who were duped by the airlines' into thinking that weather was the primary cause of their late departure, think again. The truth is that the airlines' consider bad weather occuring anywhere in the system an "act of God." This is because if a flight is delayed by "bad weather," the airlines are not liable for montary compensation to passengers if a flight has been delayed by weather.

Blaming the weather has become "a giant loophole that the airline likes to fly through." Currently, the airlines' do not face any formal audit by the FAA if a flight has been delayed due to weather, its all based on the "honor system." This in turn, gives the airlines a golden ticket to claim mild weather conditions as causes for delays.

Elliot writes "next time an airline says your flight is canceled because of the weather, don't bother looking out your window. Because what you see doesn't really matter."


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Pain of Flying

This MSNBC article goes into depth about what passengers can do to protect themselves and their personal belongings while flying in 2008. While passengers are still left with the bad taste in thier mouths from the record flight delays and mishandled luggage of last year, its no wonder why this has caused concern amoung passengers.

Only 73.4 percent of airplanes met their destinations on time, while at least 4.4 million bags where misplaced. That's "equivalent to one bag going astray on every full 737-700 flight during the year." And at least 64,000 passengers were "bumped" involuntarily off their flights last year. This is up over 8 percent from the previous year!

With last years horrible on-time performance and customer service by major carriers, all you can do is prepare for the worse "since 2008 is already looking sketchy."

Click Here to Read the Article

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Flight Delays Worst Since 2000

2007 saw the worst flight delays over the course of the year since the year 2000. December's on-time performance of 64.3% brought the yearly on-time average to 73.4%. Citing holiday traffic and poor weather, the airlines brought their performance to the lowest since they endured a 72.6% on-time average in 2000.

Reports of mishandled baggage and customer complaints each rose from 2006, with customer complaints surging by 40%.

Bloomberg stated that "the number of flights that were late at least 70% of the time more than doubled to 921."

It is clear that the airlines have shown no committment to making the situation any better for air travelers and with no signs of stopping from the airline companies, delays will only increase. It is time for the airlines to take responsibility for their roles in aerospace congestion and for them to take active steps to remedy it.

Read the Bloomberg article on 2007 delays HERE.