Inside the Fence

On EPA, Congress, pricing, and the era of integration ...


EPA almost did a “never mind” regarding its 100LL scare. Many (guilty as charged) have long felt that the agency would one day arise and declare lead and aviation gas a thing of the past. Deal with it.

That’s pretty much what industry thought it heard earlier this year when EPA responded to an environmental group’s request and said it wanted industry to find alternatives. At this year’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh -— in a forum made up of industry, FAA, and EPA -— the latter backed off any talk of an immediate mandate, and even suggested that the subject fell under the purview of FAA, not EPA.

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Not to beat a dead horse, but is it not unfathomable that the U.S. Congress once again failed to pass long-term FAA/industry reauthorization? Unconscionable?

On the latest (umpteenth) continuing resolution, the legislators did manage to address pilot training requirements, in response to the public uproar brought on by the Colgan/Buffalo tragedy.

The families of the victims sought to change an industry. They just may. Changing the stick time requirements may have a lasting impact on the financial model of the air carrier industry.

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In July, a D.C. federal appeals court agreed with ACI-NA and U.S. DOT on the issue of peak period pricing as it rejected claims by ATA, which opposes the policy. According to ACI-NA, the decision permits airport operators to adjust landing fees as one tool to encourage airlines to “more realistically” schedule flights during peak travel times.

This has been a controversial issue for years, not only for airlines but for general aviation interests who fear airports might price them out of their facilities. Either way, it is now a part of the airport financial landscape.

It will be interesting to see five years from now if the decision significantly impacts the most congested airports in the U.S.

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Finally ... in the publishing biz, change is upon us. Our parent, Cygnus Business Media, has created a new structure under which all things related to this industry will fall under Cygnus Aviation. That includes AIRPORT BUSINESS, Aircraft Maintenance Technology, and Ground Support Worldwide magazines; the Aviation Industry Expo; and the AMT Society, a professional organization for mechanics.

It’s all about integration, which of course is what’s taking place at airports, airport-based businesses, and industry in general globally. And it will include a heightened role with social media. (Social media ... isn’t that where a bunch of folks read the newspaper together at a dinner party?)

Meanwhile, in November, we’ll be entering our 25th year. Things will look dramatically different. But then, it can be said that much has changed since 1986. More to come.

Thanks for reading.

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