Aviation and Airport Development Law Newsletter, vol. 2, no. 1, June 7, 2010

The following is a summary review of articles from all over the nation concerning environmental law settlements, decisions, regulatory actions and lawsuits filed during the past week.  These were all first posted, in abbreviated form, on Twitter.  This Newsletter also appears as a post on our website on our blog, Aviation and Airport Development Law News.

As the Regional Flight Market Shrinks, Airlines Need New Strategies to Survive. – Brett Snyder, BNET, June 1, 2010
Republic (RJET) CEO Bryan Bedford outlined why the regional business is a brutal one in my interview last week. It’s a mature industry with little to negative growth and shrinking margins. With that kind of challenging environment, the regionals have had to step out of their comfort zones to find a business model that works. One of the great things about the Regional Airline Association convention is that the CEOs of many of the regionals give 15 minute briefings to the media that includes a question and answer session. It’s not long, but it gives great insight into where the airlines are going. Here’s a roundup of the different strategies being used.
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FAA awards NextGen contracts worth up to $4.4 billion. – Staff Reports, Shore News Today, June 1, 2010
he Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) May 26 awarded three separate contracts totaling up to $4.4 billion over 10 years for its Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), a significant portion of which will be developed at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center a nd its new Aviation Research and Technology Park now under development in Egg Harbor Township.  “NextGen is an intricate network of systems that involves everything from air traffic control to weather,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt who signed the contracts at the Air Traffic Control Association’s annual conference in Atlantic City. “We need to have the right tools to make sure we integrate all these different components safely and smoothly.” Boeing, General Dynamics and ITT have been contracted to see how NextGen concepts, procedures and technologies can be integrated into the current air traffic control system by conducting large-scale demonstrations, including using aircraft as flying laboratories.
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Fort Smith Airport To Assess Wildlife Hazards.KHBS NW Arkansas, June 1, 2010
Officials at Fort Smith Regional Airport are starting a required yearlong assessment of wildlife hazards near the commercial facility. The assessment is needed so the airport can comply with a nationwide certification program required by the Federal Aviation Administration for commercial service airports. Airport Director John Parker said the Fort Smith airport has a wildlife management procedure in place, which includes mostly what Parker calls nonlethal harassment.
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DOT Proposes Additional Consumer Protections for Air Travelers.U.S. Department of Transportation News Release, June 2, 2010
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today proposed new consumer protections for air travelers, building on the Department of Transportation’s recent rule banning carriers from subjecting passengers to long tarmac delays and other deceptive practices. Specifically, the new proposed rule would: increase compensation for passengers involuntarily bumped from flights; allow passengers to make and cancel reservations within 24 hours without penalty; require full and prominently displayed disclosure of baggage fees as well as refunds and expense reimbursement when bags are not delivered on time; require fair price advertising; prohibit price increases after a ticket is purchased; mandate timely notice of flight status changes
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Other Articles on the Same Topic:

Snowe, Boxer Applaud DOT’s Proposed Additional Consumer Protections for Air Travelers.Political News. me, June 2, 2010
U .S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today applauded the announcement by Secretary Ray LaHood that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed additional consumer protections for air travelers, building upon the DOT’s recent rule allowing passengers the option of deplaning an aircraft if it has been stranded for more than three hours on the tarmac.
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New Proposed DOT Rules Aren’t Bad.The Cranky Flier, June 3, 2010
Round two of the Department of Transportation’s proposed “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections” rule is out, and you probably assume that I’m going to say this is an awful thing, right? Wrong. There’s actually not much in there that makes for a big change (though there is one thing that I hate, no matter how minor), and in fact, there are a couple of things that I rather like.
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Embraer Jetliners Draw FAA Scutiny. – Andy Pasztor, Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2010
U.S. aviation regulators have ordered stepped-up inspections of more than 1,000 widely used Embraer jetliners introduced into service years ago, after structural tests by their Brazilian manufacturer revealed certain fuselage cracks could threaten aircraft safety.
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FAA Keeps ADS-B Date, But Questions Remain. – Kerry Lynch, Aviation Week, June 2, 2010
FAA’s final rule outlining equipment requirements for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) received a mixed reaction from industry groups, which see the FAA as the primary beneficiary. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Thursday the release of the much-anticipated rule, stating the agency has reached a “major NextGen milestone.” FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who joined LaHood in the announcement, says the release marks “A step across the threshold. This rule gives the green light for manufacturers to begin building the onboard equipment that will allow our air traffic controllers to know where aircraft are with greater precision and reliability.”
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“Shared Vision for Safety” J. Randolph Babbitt, San Diego, California.Speech, June 2, 2010
Good morning, and thank you, John [Allen], for inviting me. I speak to a lot of groups across a very wide spectrum, but I dare say that there’s no group more important than this one. And what brings me here today is a subject that is more important than any other. The shared vision that brings us together is that safety is not a program but a culture. The main thrust of our discussions throughout this conference focuses on the sheer fact that compliance is not enough. We need to step above and beyond where we are today. The only way we can do that is to adopt the voluntary programs that will give us the data we need to connect the dots.
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GA leaders discuss threats to aviation at aerospace summit.AOPA News Release, June 4, 2010
AOPA President Craig Fuller joined aviation leaders for a panel discussion, “Threats to General and Business Aviation,” June 3 at the Oklahoma Aerospace Summit and Expo, where about 500 representatives from aerospace companies large and small gathered. Fuller, along with National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce, National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne, and National Association of State Aviation Officials President Henry Ogrodzinski, discussed FAA reauthorization, protecting community airports, and the negative perception of GA in the media and public, among other topics.
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What’s backup plan if satellites go down on NextGen air traffic management system? – John Keller, EPA News Release, June 2, 2010
The NextGen air traffic management system represents a revolutionary advancement in air traffic control, as the future system will use satellite navigation and guidance to enable commercial jetliners to fly not only straight lines to their destinations, but also to control their trajectories and flight profiles based on the performance of each aircraft to save time, fuel, and other operating costs. But what happens if the satellites go down? This isn’t out of the realm of possibility. A nuclear weapon detonated in low-Earth orbit could destroy or disable upwards of 80 percent of the navigation satellites on which not only NextGen air traffic management, but also any kind of Global Positioning System (GPS)-based navigation depends.
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FAA Proposes Civil Penalties Against Airlines, Shippers.FAA News Release, June 4, 2010
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed to assess civil penalties ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 against two airlines and three shippers for alleged violations of Federal Aviation Regulations or U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Hazardous Materials Regulations.  The proposed penalties include: $150,000 against Lion Mentari Airlines of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for allegedly shipping a chemical oxygen generator inside an unmarked metal case from Kuala Lumpur to Dallas. DOT classifies chemical oxygen generators as a hazardous material, and they may not be shipped on passenger-carrying aircraft.
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Airport traffic monitoring may be available in homes. – Edthye Jensen, AZ Central, June 4, 2010
Residents living near Chandler Municipal Airport – or anywhere else in the world – may soon be able to monitor the facility’s flights in real time from home computers, tracking the types of craft in the air, their altitudes, speeds and how much noise they’re making. The system is one of 21 recommendations that came out of a 2-year-long airport noise study. It is used at other airports around the country and would likely reduce complaints by showing residents that planes aren’t flying as low as they appear, airport manager Greg Chenoweth said. He gave details about this and other recommendations at a City Council subcommittee meeting this week.
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