WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Aviation Administration plans to "very quickly" on whether to allow the use of personal electronics on planes below 10,000 feet.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a speech at the Aero Club that a new rule for pilot training to avoid stalls would also come "very quickly." He didn't name deadlines for gadgets or training.
An advisory panel recommended in September that he allow the use of gadgets that aren't making calls or connecting to the Internet while planes are taking off and landing. Use of electronics below 10,000 feet is now prohibited.
"We know that this has a great deal of public interest, and we're going to respond as quickly as we can," Huerta said.
The 16-day government shutdown this month delayed both decisions, he said. The agency is reviewing the damage after temporarily halting 1,000 contracts and furloughing 12,000 workers .
Congress agreed to shift funding from airport construction to FAA operations to end the furloughs and prevent the threatened closure of towers at small airports. Controllers worked through the government shutdown, although work stalled on the agency's development of satellite-based navigation equipment called NextGen.
When Congress reopened the government through Jan. 15, lawmakers included an additional $100 million for FAA operations. Huerta said the agency still faces cuts similar to the $637 million it lost last year.
The FAA is developing a rule for more pilot training to avoid stalls after the fatal Colgan Air crash in February 2009. The rule was expected Oct. 21 but delayed by the shutdown.
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