Budget Wrangle Could Force FAA Belt Tightening

If proposed reductions in its budget are passed, the FAA will be forced to “refocus priorities and resources,” including “more robust use of designees,” FAA director of flight standards John Allen told attendees at the NATA Air Charter Summit on Tuesday. He said the fiscal realities will affect the FAA’s ability to meet the challenges of the designing, manufacturing, regulating and operating of new aircraft. “There would be a hit on the [entire] aviation industry,” Allen predicted, adding that the proposed cutbacks would reduce agency staffing to 89 percent of current levels. And with the FAA nearly ready to finalize flight, duty and rest requirements for Part 121 airlines, the director of flight standards cautioned that there will be an effect on Part 135 operations. “It is likely that future rulemaking efforts will propose extending Part 121 [regulations] to Part 135,” he told charter operators attending the NATA summit, which was held just outside the Washington, D.C. beltway. Allen pointed out that Congress “clearly established the FAA’s priorities with passage of H.R.5900, the Airline Safety and [FAA] Extension Act of 2010.”

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