12:09 PM

Schumer lands a body blow
in our user fee brawl

USA Today published an AP report recently that says Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. wants to see FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's head on a platter – so to speak – calling for her resignation over increasing airport delays that are slowing air travel across the country. The report also says this:

The senator faulted Blakey for what he said was a destructive feud with the nation's air traffic controllers. He said the controllers' decades-long poor relationship with the government has gotten even worse under Blakey. "She has engaged in a counterproductive fight with the air traffic controllers, cut the number of controllers that are needed, and they sometimes lash back," said the senator.
The AP story makes to very good points that clearly illustrates just how bad commercial air travel in the U.S. has become:
The problem is particularly acute at the three major airports in the New York City area. Between January and April, 38% of all flights at Newark Liberty, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports were either late or canceled, leading to disruptions nationwide. In some cases, the delays seem to come without any weather- or crowd- related reason. At LaGuardia Airport between January and February, total passenger traffic dropped 3% compared to the same period a year ago, but delays still jumped 13%.
So while the ATA and airlines say it is a flood of GA and business jet travel that are causing “intolerable” delays at our nation's airports, Senator Schumer has made his way through the smoke and mirrors to see what might actually be causing the problem. Good for him.

AOPA has some great new info on the user fee fight here, which is related to the above post because of the way smartskies.org is blaming GA for the delays, while the airlines claim they missed their profit margin nut because of massive weather delays. So there is plenty of misinformation going around, but as far as Senator Schumer is concerned, he's seen enough to propose a pink slip for Blakey. And it is she who is playing with fire by siding with Bush and his airline cronies instead of basing the FAA funding reauthorization on actual truth.

Ought to be very interesting when the now “embattled” FAA Administrator stops by to face the music at these EAA Airventure events:
7/25/2007 7:50 PM - 8:15 PM
Theater In The Woods

7/26/2007 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM

Honda Pavilion
If you're going to be at OSH during those times, it is your duty as a pilot to make sure and catch the spin she'll be spinning. Just remember to wear your waders...

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