Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 22, 2014

Posts in "Aviation"

July 21, 2014

Pilot-Journalist Assesses Culpability in Malaysia Airlines Disaster; Obama Pushes for Access to Crash Site

President Barack Obama on Monday morning denounced Russian-backed separatists for blocking the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines flight which was shot down last week over eastern Ukraine. He demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin press the separatists to “stop tampering with the evidence” and to give investigators, including some from the United States, “unimpeded access to the crash site” for flight MH17.

As the geopolitical struggle over the shooting down of the Boeing 777 continues, it’s worth reading the analysis that journalist and pilot James Fallows did Saturday on the question of whether Malaysia Airlines was to blame for routing it over an area where fighting was taking place.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 12:02 p.m.
Aviation

Week’s Action Includes Possible Highway Trust Fund Vote in Senate

This could be a decisive week for highway and bridge building if the Senate can pass a bill providing additional money for the Highway Trust Fund.

The House passed its version of the bill last week. It would keep money flowing to state transportation projects through May 2015.

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July 18, 2014

Former NTSB Chairwoman Explains Challenges in Investigation of Ukraine Shootdown

On CNBC Friday, Deborah Hersman, the former head of the National Transportation Safety Board, explained some of the difficulties facing investigators as they try to figure out exactly how the Malaysia Airlines flight was downed over Ukraine.

“This a very wide debris field, potentially nine miles long,” she said. “And they’ve got to be able to track every single piece of that aircraft so they can put it together, because the important pats are going to be the ones that tell them what happened.”

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Sen. Kirk Urges FAA to Help Airliners Defend Themselves Against Missiles

On his Five By Five blog, CQ Roll Call’s Tim Starks has the news on Sen. Mark S. Kirk, R- Ill., calling for the Federal Aviation Administration to help commercial airliners install defense systems against missile defense attacks of the type that shot down a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine on Thursday. Tim explains the background on past civilian aircraft defense efforts.

Obama Demands ‘Credible’ Investigation of Plane Shootdown

President Obama on Friday called for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine to allow “a credible international investigation” of the shooting down Thursday of a Malaysian airliner with 298 people on board.

Calling the event “an outrage of unspeakable proportions,” Obama said at the White House that he’d dispatched investigators from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board to Ukraine to assist in the inquiry.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 1:22 p.m.
Aviation

FAA Bans Flights In Eastern Ukraine Airspace; NTSB Sends Investigators

The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. flight operations over eastern Ukraine after a Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board was shot down in that airspace on Thursday.

Meanwhile on its Twitter account Friday morning, the National Transportation Safety Board said it would “send 1+ investigator to Ukraine. Details TBD. Response will be guided by events as they unfold.”

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By Tom Curry Posted at 11:26 a.m.
Aviation

July 17, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Incident: U.S. Has No Ambassador to U.N. Investigator

The United States has not sent an ambassador to the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization, which has, in the past, investigated air disasters like the one Thursday in which a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet reportedly was shot down along the Ukraine/Russia border.

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July 16, 2014

Small-Town Grants: Jimmy Stewart Airport and More

The airport in the western Pennsylvania county where film star Jimmy Stewart was born and raised — the Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport — is getting $354,666 to remove obstructions and complete a runway extension. It was one of 35 small airports getting $18 million in grants announced by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday.

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By Tom Curry Posted at 2:59 p.m.
Airports, Aviation

July 15, 2014

All-Biofuels Flights Possible, but Airlines’ Strategy Is More ‘All of the Above’

The U.S. airline industry has made a commitment to reduce emissions by moving to using biofuels to supplement and perhaps eventually replace petroleum-based jet fuel.

The industry — which accounts for 2 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions in this country — has committed to “carbon neutral growth” from 2020 onward. That means after 2020 finding ways to offset emissions even as the airline industry flies more miles and serves a bigger population.

So will you be flying from Los Angeles to New York on a biofueled flight in the next 20 years?

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July 9, 2014

Nearly One-Quarter of Passenger Flights Were Delayed in May, FAA Data Show

Twenty-three percent of passenger flights were delayed in May, according to the monthly Air Travel Consumer Report released Wednesday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA said Hawaiian Airlines had the highest on-time arrival rate at 93.2 percent, followed by Alaska Airlines at 89.7 percent and Delta at 84.4 percent.

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July 7, 2014

Boeing Still Picking Up the Pieces From Montana Derailment Involving Fuselages

Boeing is trying to assess the damage to fuselages for its 737 model that had been on their way to final assembly at a plant in Renton, Wash., but were caught up in a train derailment Thursday.

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July 3, 2014

Battle Over Ex-Im Bank and Airline Competition Will Rage Once Congress Returns

There’ll be an intense effort this month to find the revenue to sustain the faltering Highway Trust Fund. But perhaps the most heated transportation fight in July will come on an entirely different issue – reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

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Transportation Jobs Up 12 Percent From Recession’s Low Point

The number of Americans working in transportation reached 4,618,500 in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report released Thursday morning.

That’s a 501,300, or 12 percent, increase from the worst days of the recession. And it exceeds by nearly 58,000 jobs the pre-financial crisis peak in April 2008 of 4,560,600 Americans working in transportation. You can see the rebound in transportation jobs in this chart from BLS:

bls transpo jobs jun14 report1 445x222 Transportation Jobs Up 12 Percent From Recession’s Low Point

The BLS transportation category includes people working in air, truck, and rail transportation, as well as some related jobs such as couriers, messengers, and warehousing.

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July 2, 2014

‘Enhanced Security Measures’ Ordered for Some Foreign Airports

Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Wednesday that he had directed the Transportation Security Administration to “implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.”

Johnson’s statement didn’t explain what specific threat may have prompted him to order the more stringent security measures nor did it identify the airports which would be the focus of the measures.

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June 27, 2014

Getting ‘Parochial,’ Mark Begich Presses FAA for Equipment for Aleutian Airport

If all politics is local, aviation should be no exception, whether the locale is big or small. So it was natural that Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., argued at a hearing this week on the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen air traffic control modernization project that the FAA ought do more to ensure safety at Newark Liberty International airport, which had 17.5 million passengers boarding last year.

So, too, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich could make the case for Unalaska airport on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian chain, which had 28,556 enplanements in 2013. (Unalaska is also known as Dutch Harbor and was bombed by Japanese planes in June 1942 as part of the diversion from the Japanese attack on Midway Island.)

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