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ABA Forum on Air and Space Law: Legislative Update Meeting – Key Legislative Issues for the Aviation Community – Will 2013 be any Different?

at 11:13 | Aviation Law Blogcast | Comments Off on ABA Forum on Air and Space Law: Legislative Update Meeting – Key Legislative Issues for the Aviation Community – Will 2013 be any Different?

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The second panel of the day was titled Key Legislative Issues for the Aviation Community – Will 2013 be any Different?. This panel included:
Moderators: Paul Doerrer, Principle, the Doerer Group / Jeff Sural, Counsel, Alston and Bird
Panelists: Holly Woodruff Lyons, House Transport/Aviation Subcommittee (R); Rich Swayze, Senate Commerce/ Aviation Subcommittee (D); Bailey Edwards, Senate Commerce/ Aviation Subcommittee (R)

Key points made by the panelists included:
– Priorities: FAA reauthorization Act, Boeing 787, safety oversight, Nextgen, small community air services
– Sequestration: means cuts and cuts are hard; FAA needs to be creative and move costs so as to not effect employment costs and avoid furloughs; concerns on how it is going to affect Nextgen going forward; information has not been forthcoming from the administration on how sequestration is going to affect aviation
-Sequestration and contracts: legal ramifications of cutting costs in contracting are unclear
– last year’s reauthorization bill: FAA has made a lot of progress in meeting rule making deadlines from Reauthorization Act and other bills, but there has been lack of progress in other ares such as UAS; while there has been slow movement in some areas those are generally not in priority areas, but they were ambitious deadlines and in general the bill has been a great success.
– Nextgen: committees role is to create good healthy oversights; growing frustration in Congress that funding is there but that FAA has not yet completed the task; but don’t forget that some progress has been made; IG has said that the FAA has had a hard time making the policy decisions to push the technology forward; there needs to be a person in charge of Nextgen, but that no one has been placed in that post; equipage issue – costs are supposed to be recouped by the savings, several policy solutions being looked at to encourage equipage
– Safety issues and Boeing 787: there has been a lot of mischaracterization of the certification process and FAA needs to be better at educating the public; it is not a self certification process; the 787 was new technology; the process itself is not the problem, but improvements can be made; the process is being streamlined and the 787 will be information that is used in this process
– Airports: issues with collecting the PFC; view is that it is a local fee and that burden can be shifted off the airlines
– UAS: privacy was never mentioned during the legislative process so everyone was surprised when it became an issue; because FAA has the mandate on UAS they have to deal with UAS; FAA has privacy policy for the test ranges and privacy impacts at those ranges will be important data; FAA will be looking at the technical issues of safe integration into national airspace
– US Airways and American merger: committee interest in making sure that consumers are protected in the process; ensure that competition is preserved; there is a process that the merger must go through that will give it full review; impact on local communities will be important