Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

Posts in "Aviation"

October 20, 2014

The Week Ahead: Distracted Teen Drivers, Earnings Reports & Another Ebola Hearing

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Boeing CEO Jim McNerney will discuss his company’s third quarter earnings on Wednesday. (Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

This week we’ll be watching the Ebola effect on commercial aviation as tighter screening proceeds at five U.S. airports and as the political debate continues over a ban on issuing visas to would-be visitors from three Ebola-affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Some earnings reports out this week will also give an indication of the health of the transportation sector.

Full story

October 17, 2014

A Look Back: Autonomous Vehicle Scenarios, 2014 Campaign and Pets on Trains

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Boarding an Amtrak train in Jacksonville, Fla. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for Amtrak)

This week we looked at futuristic scenarios for autonomous vehicles on our roads as envisioned by the Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole and others.

If self-driving vehicles become the norm, will that lead to the withering away of mass transit in most metro areas, and traffic lights and speed limits becoming obsolete? We may know in about 30 years. Full story

October 16, 2014

Chief Touts FAA Competence In Recovery from Fire

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Administrator Michael Huerta of the Federal Aviation Administration (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Amid public concerns about the federal government’s competence in handling emergencies sparked by the Ebola outbreak, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday touted his agency’s success in recovering from the September 26 fire that disabled the air tariff control center near Chicago.

The facility, which manages the airspace over seven Midwest states, was back in full operation on Monday.

Full story

In Debate, Roberts Dings Obama on Aviation Taxes

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Three-term Sen. Pat Roberts faces a tough re-election battle in Kansas. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

General aviation, the civil flight industry that relies on small planes and business jets for everything from skydiving trips to corporate travel, is a big job creator in Wichita, Kansas.

So it was not a surprise that in Wednesday night’s debate between three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and his Democrat-turned-independent opponent Greg Orman, Wichita Eagle reporter Bryan Lowry asked the candidates what the federal government should do for Wichita’s ailing general aviation sector. Full story

October 15, 2014

Ebola Issue Poses Campaign Opportunities And Risks

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Colorado Republican Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With Election Day 20 days away, the Ebola outbreak has become a campaign issue — on that presents as many pitfalls as opportunities.

Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, will get an opportunity Thursday to demonstrate that he’s engaged in dealing with the outbreak.  Full story

October 14, 2014

European Agency Doubts Value of Ebola Screening

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Travelers at the international arrivals terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport where new Ebola screening began Saturday. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investing time and money in examining passengers from Ebola-affected countries at five U.S. airports, our colleague Paul Jenks reports that the European counterpart to the CDC came out with a report over the weekend that questions the value of such an effort.

The European agency says entry screening “is likely to have an exceedingly low yield and represents a high investment, which may only contribute to a limited extent, to the prevention of importation of the disease.” More here….

 

The Week Ahead: Foxx And Inhofe, Delta’s Assessment, Ebola Hearing

457060106 445x289 The Week Ahead: Foxx And Inhofe, Deltas Assessment, Ebola Hearing

A plane about to land at JFK airport in New York City, where new Ebola screening began Sunday. (Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

This week’s transportation events range from a big House hearing on the Ebola outbreak to an Oklahoma event pairing conservative Sen. James M. Inhofe with Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Full story

October 10, 2014

A Look Back: Ebola Economics, Jihadists With European Passports & Biden On LaGuardia

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Travelers at Kennedy Airport in New York (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

The risk of Ebola infection and the economic damage Ebola fears could wreak on aviation and tourism were big themes of our week.

As the Obama administration revised its plans to screen air passengers for signs of the deadly infection and as one Ebola-infected patient died in Dallas, some wondered about the efficacy of airport screening. Full story

October 9, 2014

Ebola Response: Economics As Well as Epidemiology

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Lufthansa crew members walk through Hong Kong’s airport in 2003 wearing masks to protect against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). (Photo: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

A couple of times during his Ebola briefing for reporters Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded as much like an economist as an epidemiologist.

Frieden noted that the 2002-2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which hit China and neighboring countries “cost the world more than $40 billion, but it wasn’t to control the outbreak. Those were costs from unnecessary and ineffective travel restrictions and trade changes that could have been avoided.”

Full story

October 8, 2014

Obama to Brief State & Local Officials on Ebola Counter-Measures

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Travelers at Kennedy Airport in New York City (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

As airport officials and the aviation industry await the next step in the White House’s strategy to contend with the Ebola virus, President Barack Obama will take part in a conference call with state and local officials Wednesday afternoon to discuss the response to the outbreak.

Speaking to an airports industry conference in Arlington, Va., on Wednesday morning, Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas promised that the details of “potential additional measures” for Ebola screening would come “very shortly. We are on it.”

“We are taking a layered approach so that this matter ends where it began,” said Mayorkas at the Airports Council International – North America conference.

Mayorkas underscored the economic significance of travel and tourism by noting that the industry supports nearly eight million jobs in the United States and that since the first quarter of 2010 the industry has created 693,000 new jobs. He added that international travel and tourism supports 1.1 million U.S. jobs.

Although Ebola is not an airborne virus that can be spread by sneezing, it has the potential to affect travel and tourism as did the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003. The Financial Times reported Wednesday that Ebola fears were cited as the reason for the fall in the stock prices of the parent of British Airways, Spain’s Iberia and EasyJet, the cut-rate airline.

Airports Await Details on Tighter Screening

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Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/Getty Images)

U.S. airport operators hope to get the details Wednesday of the Obama administration’s proposal for tighter screening of arriving passengers with Ebola symptoms.

Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will address an Airports Council International – North America conference this morning in Arlington, Va. Full story

October 7, 2014

‘Insider’ Threat Remains A Concern For Airports

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A worker stands next to an American Airlines plane at the Miami International Airport (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Amid concerns about jihadists training in Syria and then returning to Europe or the United States, airport security officials remain focused on a related threat posed by “insiders” — airport employees who could use their access to airport facilities to carry out a terrorist attack.

The topic came up Tuesday at the fall public safety and security conference of the Airports Council International — North America (ACI-NA) in a question and answer session with Melvin Carraway, the deputy administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.

Full story

Biden ‘Third World’ LaGuardia Comment Still Resonating in Infrastructure Debate

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Vice President Joe Biden (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Vice President Joe Biden’s unscripted comments have gotten him in trouble in recent days, but his candor about LaGuardia Airport in New York is helpful to the airports industry, said Kevin Burke, the president of the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Tuesday at an industry conference.

Biden said in February that LaGuardia looks like it should be in “some third world country.”

Full story

October 6, 2014

Heritage Foundation Defends Visa Waiver Program

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A British Airways Airbus A380 arrives at Dulles International Airport from London. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The conservative Heritage Foundation is concerned that, in the face of the threat of jihadist passport holders who are able to come to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, some members of Congress might try to curtail the program.

A Heritage event Monday made the argument that scrutiny of prospective visitors from the 38 visa waiver countries is often tighter than in the traditional face-to face interview required to obtain a visa.

Full story

Efficacy Of Screening At Center Of Ebola Travel Debate

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The debate continued through the weekend on whether the Obama administration needs to do more to keep people infected with the Ebola virus from flying to the United States or to stop them at U.S. ports of entry.

Late Friday afternoon, Deputy National Security Adviser Lisa Monaco said the administration had already taken steps to ensure that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) workers “are trained to identify symptomatic individuals” who arrive at ports of entry.

Full story

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