Pilot training and passenger rights are among the measures included in the Senate's $34.5 billion FAA reauthorization bill. "Lives will be saved," vowed Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., addressing provisions that call for 800 hours of flight experience for airline pilots and cockpit technology designed to prevent runway incursions. The Senate bill, passed without a single dissenting vote, was seen as less polarizing than the House version, which includes controversial measures on airport fees, airline alliances and unionization rules.
At least five officers were needed to subdue a man who attacked two workers at Miami International Airport on Monday. Michael John Jones allegedly threw a luggage cart at the workers, then began punching one in the face. Police Tasered Jones multiple times before arresting him on charges of assault, battery and resisting arrest with violence.
The $1 billion terminal expansion at San Diego International Airport will be funded through airport fees and revenue bonds, making a tax hike unnecessary. The airport authority plans to issue a series of tax-free bonds to finance the expansion, which includes 10 new gates, an expanded concession area and a new parking ramp for jets.
TSA screeners could find themselves enforcing size limits for carry-on bags if a flight attendants' union is successful in its lobbying efforts. Based on a poll showing that 80% of flight attendants say they have sustained injuries while helping passengers stow their bags, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA is urging Congress to pass a standardized size limit that would apply to all airlines. The union claims that stricter carry-on limits would enhance aviation security, as well.
The Senate on Monday passed a sweeping FAA reauthorization bill mandating installation of NextGen air-traffic control technologies at the busiest U.S. airports by 2014. Full, non-commercial implementation of NextGen would be required sometime after 2020, with a total cost to the FAA estimated at $22 billion. The price tag for cockpit avionics could reach an additional $20 billion, and the bill authorizes FAA grants to help aircraft owners defray those costs. Fuel taxes on general aviation aircraft will jump more than 50%, to 36 cents per gallon.