TAMC on Capitol Hill
Members representing the TAMC were on the Hill this past week. On February 11th, TAMC Chairman Chris Moore and Bob Fisher had meetings with Matthew McCarthy, Legislative Assistant for Transportation for Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-WA) and Chris Brown, Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Aviation.
The meetings were to continue discussions on moving the TAMC agenda on Drug Testing at Foreign Repair Stations and the Moratorium on Certification of any new Repair Stations going forward. The TAMC started the conversation on these issues in 2014 and will continue to work to have them addressed during FAA Reauthorization which is set to expire in September of 2015.
Driving the TAMC position on Drug Testing at Foreign Repair Stations is the disparity between how Drug and Alcohol testing for Safety Sensitive positions are treated differently in other countries than in the US. In the US, “No Notice” DOT testing is conducted as a deterrent to substance abuse but in many countries testing is only conducted for cause. The TAMC understands that the US cannot dictate which laws or civil liberties are in place in countries where US aircraft are maintained, but the FAA can require that US Registered Air Carriers only use vendors that conform to the same standards for testing as those within our boarders.
The TAMC demand for a moratorium on New Repair Station Certifications stems from three Inspector General Reports over a ten year period criticizing the FAA for lack of oversight of Repair Stations. The TAMC first brought this to the attention of Administrator Huerta in January of 2014 and has had continuing correspondence with Associate Administrator Gilligan throughout the Spring of 2014. The FAA maintains that the problems can be addressed through additional training for the A.S.I.s (Aviation Safety Inspectors) and the introduction of a new Safety Assurance System. While the TAMC applauds the FAA’s efforts to ensure more effective oversight, over the last decade to provide better oversight, history has proven the efforts ineffective.
Therefore in the interest of Aviation Safety, the TAMC will continue to pressure the FAA to impose a moratorium on certification of any new Repair Stations until there is proof of better oversight.
Airline Industry News
Governmental and Regulatory
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Nick Rahall, a former U.S. representative, urges the Federal Aviation Administration to keep its program for training air traffic controllers. "Air traffic controllers are responsible for the travel of about 2 million passengers per day. ... The nation cannot afford to have their training program compromised," he writes.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the TSA Office of Inspection Accountability Act, which requires Transportation Security Administration officers who are classified as law enforcement officers to spend a majority of their work hours actively pursuing criminal investigations. The House also passed the Gerardo Hernandez Airport Security Act, which requires all TSA screeners to participate in training.
Airlines, Industry and Labor
US Airways flew its final passenger flight with the iconic Boeing 767-200 on Thursday. The 25-year-old plane is the last of the 767 fleet to be retired by US Airways. "It's the new American, and we'll be using A330 aircraft on some of the international routes that the B767 flew, also the A321 and [Boeing] 757 on some other routes," said Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for American Airlines Group.
Boeing opened a new facility in South Carolina on Wednesday that will produce 737 Max engine parts. The 225,000-square-foot plant will make engine inlets from carbon composite materials.
GoJet Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Trans States Holdings, has entered into an agreement with Delta Air Lines to operate seven Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft under the Delta Connection regional service brand.